Atonement Mass Planned for Sins Against Life

Congress Targets Culture of Death With Prayer

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ROME, SEPT. 20, 2010 ( A Mass of Atonement will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica in reparation for all sins against life, as part of a congress celebrating the 15th anniversary of «Evangelium Vitae.»

The 5th World Prayer Congress for Life will take place Oct. 5-10 in Rome.

The Oct. 8 Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, will allow participants to «bring the sins against life of individual nations to offer to God in reparation, according to the word of [the liturgy], ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,'» one of the organizers explained to ZENIT.

ZENIT spoke with Dietmar Fischer, director of Human Life International Austria, one of the organizing institutions of the congress, which is expected to draw 500 participants from over 50 countries.

The congress is being organized by: Human Life International, the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, the World Prayer for Life Initiative, the World Apostolate of Fatima, the European Doctors Action and the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIAMC).

Fischer explained that the encyclical «Evangelium Vitae» was the inspiration for this event, as it states, «Filled with this certainty, and moved by profound concern for the destiny of every man and woman […] a great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world» (100).

«The organizers of the International World Prayer Congresses for Life have taken this call of John Paul II very seriously and sought concrete ways to respond to this call,» Fischer said.

The goal, he noted, is that a «large-scale urgent prayer for life should at last become a reality.»

Spiritual means

«The culture of death,» Fischer continued, «which Pope John Paul II repeatedly mentions, is primarily a spiritual phenomenon, and therefore must primarily be addressed by spiritual means.»

He affirmed: «Our hopes with this congress are to spur and foster such prayer activities so that a great movement of prayer breaks forth worldwide.

«This is what will break down the walls of lies of the culture of death and make the building up of the culture of life possible.»

The congress will include various lectures as well as daily Mass celebrated in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms, the praying of the angelus and the Divine Mercy chaplet, Eucharistic adoration and confession.

On Oct. 7, the Feast of the Holy Rosary, there will be a Mass and candlelight procession led by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

On Oct. 9, Archbishop Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, will preside over a Mass in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Fischer noted that «an important part of bringing the light to the world is bringing God’s mercy and healing to the many that are wounded by abortion and the culture of death.» Thus, part of the congress will focus on post-abortion trauma and healing.

God’s power

«There are many ways to fight for the culture of life,» Fischer affirmed. «There is important work to be done in fields ranging from politics, to the communications media, to training for medical professionals.»

He continued: «However, the basis of all the measures we take to protect life should certainly be the spiritual.

«Without prayer as the foundation, all other measures are purely well-meaning human activities, but, lacking the actual animating breath, the power of God’s grace/intervention.»

«Only the light of God’s grace can open spiritually blind eyes to transform the culture of death towards the beauty of embracing and establishing a culture where human life is always seen as a great blessing,» the organizer stated.

He asserted, «Prayer is not a luxury; it is the decisive factor.»

The director spoke about his experience working with in Austria, where «we have five chapels of perpetual adoration in our Life Counseling Centers.»

«Here people pray day and night for life for the women in need,» he said, and «in only 12 years, over 13,500 children have been saved from abortion — through counseling in front the abortion clinics and through the concrete help offered in our Life Counseling Centers.»

«We counter the crisis of darkness caused by the lies of moral relativism by bringing the light of truth,» Fischer affirmed, «by way of practical information about the incalculable value of human life, the great blessings of children, and the sanctity of marriage.

«When the eyes of others are opened to see the beauty and truth of Catholic teaching,» he noted, «they will want to embrace this way of life which leads to the welfare and wellbeing of each member of society and society as a whole.»

[With the contribution of Antonio Gaspari]

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