Missioni don Bosco
Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "Let us ask Jesus, just born in Bethlehem, to guard the newborn life of those who suffer the injustice of war and, as Pope Francis says, lose the ability to smile. Let us never take our eyes off the boys and girls who live in poverty, who are exploited at work and sexually". This is the appeal launched by the Commission for Life, tLaity and the Family of the Argentine Episcopal Conference on the occasion of the feast of the Holy Innocent Martyrs, which is celebrated today, December 28.With this feast, the Church remembers all those children whom Herod, in an attempt to eliminate the Child Jesus, orders to cruelly kill, as reported in the Gospel: "When Herod realized that the Magi had made fun of him, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the Magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: "A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more", (Mt 2, 15-18).
The text released by the Argentine Episcopal Conference highlights that "in each Christmas celebration we renew our deep desire to care for life, to help it to be born and to grow". On this feast of the Holy Innocents "let us once again implore heaven for the boys and girls who are persecuted from whom the gift of life is taken away in so many ways". Finally, the text implores the intercession of the Holy Innocent Martyrs so that they "protect the souls of those who live in the maternal sanctuary and intercede for us , so that we courageously care for and watch over every life that exists in our homeland".
In Latin America, tens of millions of children and adolescents under the age of 18 live in misery. Even countries that have experienced improvements in their living conditions fail to involve children in this process, who are largely denied their basic rights. As a consequence of the increase in migration, violence and risks related to climate change, Unicef estimates that 16.5 million children and adolescents in Latin America will need humanitarian aid next year.
The UNICEF regional report from last November also points out that children in Latin America and the Caribbean are at risk of suffering violence at home, at school and on the street from the age of one. Nearly 2 out of 3 children between the ages of 1 and 14 in the region experience violent discipline at home. In addition to physical punishment and psychological aggression in early childhood, sexual abuse and homicide affect millions of children and adolescents. The regional rate of homicides of children and adolescents (12.6 per 100,000) is four times higher than the world average (3 per 100,000). Homicide is the leading cause of death among adolescents ages 10 to 19.
On this feast of December 28, the Church in Colombia is also inspired by the Innocent Saints to pay homage to life and call for respect for the dignity of every person. Father John Jaime Ramírez Feria, delegate for communication of the Archdiocese of Ibagué, offers a reflection based on the reading of the Gospel passage from Saint Matthew: "This Gospel highlights the dignity of every person, today in which we witness so much violence, so much cruelty, from the moment of conception, to the lack of respect for life, to so many victims of abortion, but also to so many who suffer violence, to other women like Raquel, who mourn the loss of their children". "It is a day to proclaim life and awaken solidarity with all those who suffer", he said in conclusion. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 28/12/2022)
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