Pope Assures Prayers for Parents Whose Children Have Died

Urges Youth, Newlyweds and the Sick to Pray for Unity

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is urging parents whose children have died to not allow themselves to by "conquered by despair and despondency."

The Pope said this today at the end of the general audience upon greeting the members of the Italian association "Children in Paradise: Wings Between Heaven and Earth." The group is from Galatone, a city in the southern region of Puglia, and has also spread to other regions of Italy.

"You, parents, profoundly stricken by the death, often tragic, of your children, do not let yourselves be conquered by despair and despondency, but transform your suffering into hope, as Mary did at the foot of the Cross," the Holy Father stated.

Turning to the youth present, he encouraged them to "not fail to calculate the risks and act in every moment with prudence and a sense of responsibility, especially when you are driving an automobile, for the protection of your life and that of others."

The Pontiff assured the families who are mourning dead children that he prays for them. "Feel their spiritual presence beside you," he added. "As you say, they are 'wings between Heaven and earth.'"

One Church

Benedict XVI then greeted the youth, sick and newlyweds present, inviting them to pray for Christian unity.

"All of you who, with youthful freshness, or with endured self-giving, or with happy spousal love are committed to love the Lord in the daily fulfillment of your duty, contribute to the building of the Church and her evangelizing work," he said. "Pray, therefore, so that all Christians will accept the Lord's call to the unity of the faith in his one Church."