the Vatican is uniting with Churches and religious communities around the world to pray for lives that are about to begin. Pope Benedict XVI will preside over the first Vespers of Advent at St. Peter’s Basilica. He will then hold a prayer vigil for nascent life.
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The vigil for nascent life doesn’t stop in Rome. Pope Benedict has extended an invitation to the Bishops and faithful of the world to join with him in prayer. The Holy Father’s invitation gives the vigil a universal importance, unifying Catholics around the world as they pray together for the lives of the unborn. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments sent documents to parishes and communities throughout the world to assist in the preparation for the vigil.
Many major Canadian cities are organizing vigils in their respective dioceses. Here are a few examples:
The official prayer for the vigil for nascent life comes from Pope John Paul II's encyclical "Evangelium Vitae". It was first recited by Venerable Pope John Paul II in 1995 for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. Read it here below:
PRAYER OF EVANGELIUM VITAE
IOANNES PAULUS PP. II
O Mary, bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life
Look down, O Mother,
upon the vast numbers
of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women
who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference or out of misguided mercy.
Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life
with honesty and love
to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel
as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it
resolutely, in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God,
the Creator and lover of life.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, in the year 1995, the seventeenth of my Pontificate.
Photo: B.C. Catholic