VATICAN, May 15, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As if his blessing of a baby in utero at the opening of his papacy and praying for abortionists at his Good Friday stations of the cross were only a foretaste, a Vatican official has told LifeSiteNews that Pope Francis will have his first real opportunity to speak to the sacredness of human life at the upcoming weekend celebration of Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life), June 15-16, 2013.
Rev. Geno Sylva, the English-language official for the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, told LifeSiteNews that the weekend will be an opportunity for the faithful from all over the world to gather with Pope Francis in Rome to give witness to the sacred value of all human life.
“The whole idea for this Evangelium Vitae weekend is showing the absolute importance of the sanctity of all life from conception to natural death in the mission of the New Evangelization,” he said. “That the most basic of all rights – the right to life – has got to be promoted, has got to be protected and thus is an essential part of the New Evangelization.”
The weekend will include a “holy hour for life,” there will also be educational conferences on Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae in various languages.
The English-language conference will be keynoted by Raymond Cardinal Burke. There will be a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter, and a candle-light procession through the streets of Rome.
The highlight of the weekend will be Mass on the Sunday presided by Pope Francis and celebrated in St. Peter’s square.
The initiative for the weekend as part of the Year of Faith, had already been planned by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. However, Fr. Sylva told LifeSiteNews that “Pope Francis has been so supportive and excited about following through with this event.” Speaking of Pope Francis’ former life as Cardinal in Argentina, Fr. Sylva noted, “We know how strongly he’s spoken about the life issues.” He added that, as Pope, “this is going to be his opportunity to speak about this more.”
For more information on the weekend visit the Year of Faith website
To register for the EVANGELIUM VITAE weekend (Online registration is currently available in Italian only).
To sign up for the pilgrimage to St. Peter’s tomb.