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12 / 12 / 2011 - Pope blesses work of Precious Life and other European pro-life groups
Precious Life was honoured when director Bernadette Smyth was invited to Rome at the weekend to attend the Presentation of the 'Mother Theresa of Calcutta Prize For Life', which this year was awarded to the memory of Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolari Movement. The event was held on Saturday 10th December - Human Rights Day - commemorating the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
After the ceremony, Bernadette joined other pro-life leaders from across Europe for a meeting to discuss a European strategy to defend right to life life of unborn children.
On Sunday, Bernadette was in St Peter's Square, as a representative of the pro-life movement in Ireland, to receive a blessing from Pope Benedict
The Pope greeted the representatives of the European pro-life groups saying,
"..I'm very happy to welcome today, representatives of Pro-Life organisations from many European countries on the occassion of the Presentation of the 'Mother Theresa of Calcutta Prize For Life', awarded this year to the memory of Chiara Lubich.
Dear Friends, on the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we remember that the most important right of all is the right to life. I wish you every blessing on your work.."
Meanwhile, back in Northern Ireland, Precious Life were holding their annual Candle-light Rosary Procession, in honour of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady (8th December) and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (12th December.)
The procession left Guildhall Square at 5.00pm. The large crowd carried a ‘light of life’ for unborn children. They proceeded through the streets of Derry behind the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The procession was led by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. The special intention as the Rosary was prayed was for the success of Precious Life's campaigns to protect Ireland’s unborn children and their mothers from abortion.
After a carol service on our return to Guildhall Square, a message was read out to the crowd from Bernadette in Rome. She thanked the crowd for their enthusiastic response to our beautiful Candle-Light Procession on a day so close to Christmas. She said, "..Although I am absent from this year's procession, I am with you in spiri. Today I am in Rome representing you - the people of Ireland - to receive a special blessing from Pope Benedict. It is such an honour for Pope Benedict to bless the work of Precious Life. May it encourage you to continue to support Precious Life in 2012 as we work to ensure abortion will never be legalised in Ireland and the right to life of our unborn children will always be protected."
View photos from the Candle-light Procession