The pope's two special appeals at the Wednesday audience
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued two special appeals at today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square: One for the World Day of the Rights of the Child, to be marked this Friday, November 20; and the other for the November 21 Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, when the Church offers special thanks for all the men and women who have answered the Lord’s call to serve him in monastic, cloistered and contemplative life.
Two days before the UN-sponsored World Day for the Rights of the Child, sometimes called Universal Children’s Day, Pope Francis said: “It is everyone’s duty to protect children,” especially from abuse in all its forms, particularly the shackles of slavery and the brutality of forced military service.
“I hope the international community shall be vigilant over the living conditions of children, especially where they are exposed to recruitment by armed groups; I also hope it shall help families ensure every child the right to schooling and a wholesome upbringing.”
Just three days before the Church commemorates the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin in the Temple—a liturgical celebration that has existed in the East since the sixth century and was introduced into the West in the fourteenth—Pope Francis said: “On this occasion we thank the Lord for the gift of the vocation of men and women who, in monasteries and hermitages, have dedicated their lives to God.”
He went on to say: “Let us not be remiss in our duty of spiritual and material closeness to them, in order that cloistered communities might be able to fulfill their important mission of prayer and silent work.”