19-April-2008 -- Catholic News Agency |

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Holy Father calls handicapped to be signs of hope, apostles of prayer

New York, Apr 19, 2008 / 04:59 pm (CNA).- This afternoon 50 young people with disabilities had the chance to meet with Pope Benedict, who encouraged them to be a sign of hope and to continue to intercede for others with their prayers.

“God has blessed you with life, and with differing talents and gifts”, the Holy Father told the youngsters. “Through these you are able to serve him and society in various ways. While some people's contributions seem great and others' more modest, the witness value of our efforts is always a sign of hope for everyone,” he said.

The Pope sympathized with the pain that handicapped children endure and called them to see life as God does.

“Sometimes it is challenging to find a reason for what appears only as a difficulty to be overcome or even pain to be endured. Yet our faith helps us to break open the horizon beyond our own selves in order to see life as God does. God's unconditional love, which bathes every human individual, points to a meaning and purpose for all human life. Through his Cross, Jesus in fact draws us into his saving love and in so doing shows us the way ahead - the way of hope which transfigures us all, so that we too, become bearers of that hope and charity for others.”

“Dear friends,” said the Holy Father, “I encourage you all to pray every day for our world. There are so many intentions and people you can pray for, including those who have yet to come to know Jesus. And please do continue to pray for me.”

Benedict XVI then joked, “As you know I have just had another birthday. Time passes!”

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