- To encourage a commitment and witness within the Church to love and life, a prayer initiative to be led by Pope Benedict XVI is being promoted by a pair of cardinals. All bishops of the world are being asked to invite the faithful to pray for the unborn during the prayerful season before Christmas.
On Nov. 27, to mark the start of Advent, Pope Benedict will preside over first vespers in St. Peter's Basilica as is customary. According to a note from Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, however, this will take place within a broader scope than usual.
Vespers will be included in Sunday's "vigil for nascent life," in light of the beginning of Advent and the proximity of the Lord's Nativity.
Benedict XVI will not be the only one leading the vigil, as the initiative is being promoted through bishops' conferences throughout the world. A letter from Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and Cardinal Ennio Antonelli of the Pontifical Council for the Family has been sent to the bishops of the world to invite a similar celebration and prayer initiative on a local level throughout the Catholic Church.
Fr. Lombardi said through Vatican Radio that the events will take place "in spiritual union with the Holy Father, to promote the commitment and the ecclesial witness for a culture of life and love.”