Pope Benedict XVI encourages faithful to participate in prayer vigils on the eve of the first Sunday of Advent

Pope Benedict XVI has urged Catholics around the world to participate in a prayer vigil for unborn babies to be held on the eve of the first Sunday of Advent, November 27 – a week on Saturday – either in St Peter’s Basilica or in local parishes.

Speaking yesterday after reciting the Angelus, the Pope said: “The season of preparation for Christmas is an appropriate time for invoking divine protection over every human being called into existence and for thanking God for the gift of life we received from our parents.”

The Pope called for the vigil to pray for the unborn and their parents, for an end to abortion and research that destroys embryos, and recognition of the dignity of every human life.

The Vigil for all Nascent Human Life will include prayers for overturning of laws that permit the destruction of innocent lives, and for the healing of those who have acted against innocent human life.

Pope Benedict will preside over an evening prayer vigil in St Peter’s Basilica and asked that parishes, religious communities, associations and movements around the world hold vigils of their own.