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Respect and serve life and peace

VATICAN (CNS): “All life, from life in the mother’s womb to that of the elderly, the suffering and the sick, and to that of the troublesome and even repellent, is to be welcomed, loved and helped,” Pope Francis said during a Mass celebrating the feast of Mary, Mother of God, and marking World Peace Day at St. Peter’s Basilica, on January 1.
The pope remarked that the Marian feast was a celebration of “a magnificent truth about God and about ourselves: From the moment that our Lord became incarnate in Mary—and for all time—he took on our humanity.”
God becoming human in the baby Jesus, is an affirmation that human life “is precious and sacred to the Lord,” so “to serve human life is to serve God,” the pope said.
He said that “To call Mary the mother of God reminds us God is close to humanity, even as a child is close to the mother who bears him in her womb”
Later, turning his thoughts to migrants and refugees, and their yearning for peace, Pope Francis exhorted the crowd of around 40,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the midday angelus, “Let’s not extinguish the hope in their hearts; let’s not suffocate their hopes for peace.” 
Saying that peace is the right of all, the pope said, “Many of them are willing to risk their lives in a journey that, in most cases, is long and dangerous and to face trials and suffering.” 
He said it is important that everyone, including individuals, governments, schools, churches and church agencies, make a commitment to “ensuring refugees, migrants—everyone—a future of peace.”
On New Year’s Eve Pope Francis gave thanks for the year that was ending and offered a special acknowledgement to “artisans of the common good”—especially parents and teachers—who work to help their families, neighbours and communities each day without fanfare.
However he also noted that people also must recognise that God gave humanity the year 2017 “whole and sound,” yet “we human beings have in many ways wasted and wounded it with works of death, with lies and injustices. Wars are the flagrant sign of this backsliding and absurd pride. But so are all the small and great offenses against life, truth and solidarity, which cause multiple forms of human, social and environmental degradation.”

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