* * *
Dear brothers and sisters,
At the end of this celebration, I would like to greet all of you who have come to pay homage to the new saints, in a special way I greet the official delegations from Italy, Colombia and Mexico.
May the martyrs of Otranto help the dear Italian people to look to the future with hope, trusting the nearness of God, who never abandons us even in difficult moments.
Through the intercession of Mother Laura Montoya may the Lord grant a new missionary and evangelizing impulse to the Church and, inspired by this new saint’s example of peace and reconciliation, may the beloved sons and daughters of Colombia continue to work for peace and the just development of their homeland.
In the hands of St. Guadalupe García Zavala we place all the poor, the sick and those who assist them, and we commend to her intercession the noble Mexican nation, that all violence and insecurity be banished from that land, and that in every case the way of solidarity and fraternal coexistence be advanced.
I am also happy to note that yesterday in Rome Father Luigi Novarese, founder of the Center for the Volunteers of Suffering (Centro volontari della Sofferenza) and the Silent Workers of the Cross (Silenziosi Operai della Croce) was beatified. I join in the thanksgiving for this exemplary priest, who understood how to renew pastoral work with the sick, making them active participants in the Church.
I greet the participants in the “March for Life,” which took place this morning in Rome and I invite all to continue to be attentive to this very important issue of respect for human life from the moment of conception. In this regard I would like also to mention the gathering of signatures that is taking place today in Italian parishes to support the “One of Us” initiative in Europe to guarantee legal protection of the embryo, protecting every human being from the first instant of his existence. “‘Evangelium Vitae’ Day” will be a special, which will take place here at the Vatican June 15-16, in the context of the Year of Faith, will be a special moment for those who take seriously the defense of the sacredness of human life.
I greet with affection all the parish groups, families, schools and young people present. With filial love we turn now to the Virgin Mary, mother and model of all Christians.
[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]