VATICAN CITY, 1 FEB 2009 (VIS) - Following the Angelus, the Pope recalled the fact that tomorrow marks the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. "Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took Him to Jerusalem, in accordance with the norms of the Law of Moses. Indeed, according to Scripture, each first born belonged to the Lord and had to be redeemed with a sacrifice.
"This event", he added, "makes manifest the consecration of Jesus to God the Father and - associated thereto - that of the Virgin Mary. For this reason my beloved predecessor John Paul II wished this day, on which many consecrated people pronounce or renew their vows, to be the World Day of Consecrated Life".
The Holy Father also indicated that tomorrow evening, following a Mass due to be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica by the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, he will enter the basilica to greet the consecrated people gathered there.
"I invite everyone to thank the Lord for the precious gift of these brothers and sisters and to ask Him, through the intercession of Our Lady, for many new vocations in the many charisms which make the Church so rich".
Turning then to address Italian pilgrims, Benedict XVI expressed special greetings to members of "the Movement for Life, delegations from the faculty of medicine and surgery of the University of Rome, and everyone involved in the defence and promotion of the fundamental gift of life. I appreciate and encourage the commitment of the diocese of Rome in this field, and express my cordial best wishes for its 'Family Week', which begins today".