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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

International vigil at St. Mary Major for the 20th anniversary of the encyclical Evangelium Vitae

Vatican City, 24 March 2015 (VIS) – The Pontifical Council for the Family has organised an international vigil to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the publication of St. John Paul II's encyclical “Evangelium Vitae”. According to a press release from the dicastery, the event is a form of thanksgiving for the fruits of the pastoral care of life, and will also serve to spread the benefits of prayer for life as well as to recall eternal life, the destiny of every human being.

The vigil will be divided into three stages: it will begin at 5 p.m. in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, with an explanation of various artistic elements of the basilica relating to the theme of life. At 6 p.m. an original rosary will be prayed, focusing on the contemplation of the Gospel passages linked to the theme of life, interspersed with experiences related by the faithful. This will be followed, at 7 p.m., by a Eucharistic celebration presided by Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who comments that “the anniversary of the Encyclical and this vigil that commemorates it, on the eve of the Annunciation, is particularly meaningful as it makes manifest the intimate connection between the mystery of life and the experience of the family, made up of affection and social relationships. Defending life means participating in the alliance between God, man and woman”.

The international character of the vigil is accentuated by the participation of the shrines of Fatima, Lourdes and Guadalupe, where rosaries will be recited, dedicated to life, as part of the initiative “A rosary embraces the world”.

The Italian television channel Telepace will transmit live the events of the vigil from 5.15 p.m., while English-, French- and Italian-speaking viewers will be able to take part in the Holy Rosaries of Lourdes, according to the following schedule: at 2.30 p.m. (local time) the Rosary will be broadcast by the main American Catholic television channels; at 3.30 p.m. by the French Catholic channel KTO, and at 6 p.m. in Italy, by the broadcaster TV2000.

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