“Let us say ‘Yes’ to life and not death.” These were the words of Pope Francis during his homily on Sunday morning for Evangelium Vitae Day, a day celebrating the Gospel of Life. An estimated 200,000 people were in Saint Peter’s Square for Holy Mass and the Angelus that followed with Pope Francis to mark the Year of Faith event dedicated to the Gospel of Life.
In his homily, the Pope noted how the Scriptures continuously tell us how God is the Living One who bestows life. However, he said that “all too often, people do not choose life, they do not accept the ‘Gospel of Life’ but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others.”
The Holy Father went on to say that people dream of building a new “Tower of Babel”, a city of man that is without God. They believe that the rejection of “God, the message of Christ, the Gospel of Life, will somehow lead to freedom, to complete human fulfillment.” As a result,” the Pope continued, “the Living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death.” Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to “say ‘Yes’ to the God who is love, life and freedom, and who never disappoints.”
In his Angelus address following Mass, Pope Francis pointed to a perfect example of one who followed the Gospel of Life. He called attention to Saturday’s beatification of a husband and father of seven from Capri Italy who was killed in a concentration in 1944 for witnessing to his faith. Blessed Oduardo Focherini had saved countless lives from Nazi persecution before losing his own.
Below is an English translation of the Holy Father’s Angelus address.
Dear brothers and sisters,
At the conclusion of this Eucharistic celebration dedicated to the Gospel of life, I am pleased to recall that yesterday, in Carpi, Oduardo Focherini, husband and father of seven, journalist, was proclaimed Blessed. Captured and imprisoned because of hatred against his Catholic faith, he died in the concentration camp of Hersbruck in 1944 at the age of 37. He rescued many Jews from the Nazi persecution. Together with the Church in Carpi, we give thanks to God for this witness to the Gospel of Life! I offer my sincere thanks to all of you who have come from Rome and from many other places in Italy and the world, particularly families and those who work directly for the promotion and protection of life.
I cordially greet the 150 members of the “Grávida” Association – Argentina, gathered in the city of Pilar. Many thanks for what you have done! Be courageous, and go forward!Finally, I greet the many participants of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle rally, and also those of the State Police Motorbike club.
We turn now to Our Lady, entrusting every human life, especially the most fragile, defenseless, and weak, to her maternal protection.