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For Immediate Release: March 11, 2002

Contact: Jerry Horn, 540-785-4733

Catholic Leaders: Annunciation a Key Pro-life Feast

Over sixty national Catholic leaders have signed a statement drafted by three Catholic pro-life organizations to call special attention to the pro-life significance of the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25.

Priests for Life, Human Life International, and the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe sent out the short statement in February. The statement and its signers are posted at www.priestsforlife.org/news/annunciation.htm, and Catholic leaders may still add their names to it.

"The statement is an expression of a conviction that has been growing all over the world for years," explained Fr. Frank Pavone, Co-Founder of Priests for Life. "When I worked at the Pontifical Council for the Family in Rome, I saw letters coming in frequently requesting that the Church raise the Feast of the Annunciation to an even higher level of solemnity. The reason is simple. We live in an age when the human embryo and fetus are regarded as things rather than persons. At the Annunciation, God Himself became an embryo, and gave human life -- at its beginnings and at all stages -- an even greater dignity than it already had."

The statement does not call for any canonical or liturgical changes, but rather encourages the faithful to meditate more deeply on the pro-life meaning of the Annunciation. Pastors are encouraged to have special celebrations on this Feast each year that can enable the faithful to pray for an end to abortion and to the exploitation of human life by destructive embryonic research and cloning.

In some nations, the Annunciation has been declared the Day of the Unborn Child. The Knights of Columbus will observe the day in the same way. It is also noteworthy that Pope John Paul II published his encyclical, The Gospel of Life, on March 25, 1995.

This year, due to the date of Easter, the liturgical observance of the Annunciation occurs on Monday, April 8.

End

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