VATICAN CITY, MAR. 25, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II expressed his closeness to expectant mothers who are having a difficult pregnancy, and assured them that their child is an invitation to life and hope.
When he appeared in the window of his study to greet the thousands of pilgrims gathered below in St. Peter´s Square, the Holy Father made a vibrant appeal in defense of human life, from the first moment of conception, until its natural end.
“May humanity come to know a renewed spring of life in respect and acceptance of every human being, on whose face shines the image of Christ!” the Pope said in a clear voice.
The Bishop of Rome explained that his appeal was being made on March 25, the day in which the Church usually celebrates the moment when the angel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive Jesus. For liturgical reasons, in this year´s Lent, the feast will be celebrated Monday.
The Pope recalled that last year he was in the Holy Land for this feast. “It takes me back in thought to the intense moments of the celebration that last year, precisely on this day, I was able to preside over in the Basilica of the Annunciation at Nazareth,” he said.
Contemplating that moment when Mary said “yes” to the divine messenger, “believers can draw renewed spiritual energy to ceaselessly proclaim and witness to Christ, our only salvation, and to faithfully serve the Gospel of life that he entrusts to us,” the Holy Father added.
“In face of the culture of death and of the attacks that, unfortunately, go on multiplying against man´s life, let the effort to defend it in all its phases, from the first moment of conception to its natural end, not diminish,” John Paul II stressed.
Thus, after encouraging the work of “the movements committed against abortion,” the Holy Father addressed expectant mothers, especially those with the greatest difficulties. “To all I say: A conceived child is always an invitation to live and to hope,” the Pope said, before bidding the pilgrims farewell.