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Let's begin today with a quick look at the Pope’s monthly prayer intention. This month, the Holy Father asks us to join him in prayer specifically for those who struggle to live their faith in freedom. He asks that we pray for religious liberty in Asia.
Tomorrow, the Polish parliament will vote on an abortion policy that will either increase access to pregnancy termination or significantly reduce it. The government in that staunchly Catholic nation is trying to introduce an “abortion on request” legislation which will make pregnancy termination a more readily available option. At the moment, abortion in that country is restricted only to cases where there is severe and irreversible damage to the fetus, a serious threat to the mother's health, or when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
Pro-live groups: Ordo Luris and Halt Abortion, who are supported by over a million people are lobbying for a complete and total ban on abortion including the areas where the country currently allows it.
During the Feast of the Holy Family, on December 31st, 2017, the Polish Bishop’s Conference published a letter “Love, do not kill!”, in which Polish Bishops reminded the country that “instead of abortion there is always a possibility to give a child for adoption”. The statement emphasizes that the protection of the life of unborn children is not a matter of religion or beliefs, but it belongs to the most fundamental responsibilities of each person.
Voting on this issue will take place tomorrow and I’ll bring you more as the story unfolds.
Next week, Pope Francis embarks on what will be his 6th trip to Latin America. From January 15th to the 18th, the Holy Father will journey to the capital city of Santiago, then he will travel to Chile from the 18th to the 21st.
And on the eve of his journey, the Pope released a video message to the peoples of Chile and Peru, where he said:
Brothers and sisters of Chile and Peru,
Before my upcoming trip to these lands, I greet you affectionately. I am coming to you as a pilgrim of the joy of the Gospel, to share with everyone “the Lord’s peace” and “confirm them in the same hope”. Peace and hope shared among all.
I want to meet you, look into your eyes, see your faces and be able to experience among you God’s closeness, His tenderness and mercy that embraces and comforts us.
I know the history of your countries. Forged with determination, dedication; I wish, with you, - to thank God for the faith and love for God and for brothers most in need, especially the love you have towards those who are discarded from society.
The throwaway culture is increasingly invading us.I want to share with you your joys, your sorrows, your difficulties and hopes, and tell you that you are not alone, that the Pope is with you, that the whole Church welcomes you, that the Church looks to you.
With you I want to experience the peace that comes from God, which is so necessary; He alone can give it to us. It is the gift that Christ gives us all, the foundation of our coexistence and of society; peace is sustained in justice and allows us to find instances of communion and harmony.
We must constantly ask the Lord for it, and the Lord gives it to us. It is the peace of the Risen One that brings joy and impels us to be missionaries, reviving the gift of faith that leads us to the encounter, to the shared communion of the same faith celebrated and given.
That encounter with the risen Christ confirms us in hope. We do not want to be anchored to the things of this world – our gaze goes much further, our eyes are focused on His mercy that heals our miseries. Only He gives us the drive to get up and continue. To feel this, God’s closeness makes us a living community capable of moving with those who are by our side and taking decisive steps of friendship and fraternity. We are brothers who go out to encounter others, so as to confirm our same faith and hope.
I place in the hands of the Holy Virgin, Mother of America, this Apostolic Journey and all the intentions that we carry in our hearts, so that she, as a good Mother, may welcome them and teach us the way to her Son.
See you very soon! And, please, do not forget to pray for me. See you soon!
The complete video message is available on our website. Also, please note that we will be broadcasting live, some of the events, from this papal trip, so be sure to check our online schedule for details.
And finally, our very own Matteo Coifi in Rome had a chance to meet and talk to the Ambassador of Chile to the Holy See about what his hopes and expectations are for the Pope’s trip.
That is all that for today. Join us again tomorrow when I bring you news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.
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