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Saturday, 27 July 2013

Aparecida: knocking at Mary's door..

From the Website of Vatican

Aparecida: knocking at Mary's door..

2013-07-24 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio ) Veronica Scarisbrick reports on the words of Pope Francis during his homily at Holy Mass at the Marian Shrine of Aparecida on Wednesday 24th of July:

While Pope Francis inherited from Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus, most of the planned World Youth Day events, he also chose to add to the schedule a visit to the Marian Shrine of Aparecida which lies two hundred kilometres from Rio de Janeiro and is visited each year by over seven million pilgrims.

The event began at the Basilica of the Shrine with a brief moment of prayer in the Chapel by the Hall of the 12 Apostles where an image of Our Lady is housed and it ended with an Act of Consecration to Our Lady of Aparecida. A consecration which took place at the end of the Holy Mass celebrated in Portuguese with the local Bishops. During his homily on this occasion, Pope Francis highlighted in a special way his Marian devotion.

As we know right from the very start of his pontificate Pope Francis entrusted his ministry as Successor of Peter to Our Lady making a surprise visit to Rome’s Basilica of Saint Mary Major on the day after his election. 

In Brazil Pope Francis chose to repeat this gesture of Marian devotion. He did so at the Marian Shrine of Aparecida. In the course of his homily during Holy Mass, at what he described as the house of the Mother of every Brazilian. It was here that he chose to place at her feet the future not just of the young pilgrims currently in Brazil for the XXVIII World Youth Day but also that of the people of the entire Latin American continent.“When the Church looks for Jesus”, he said on this occasion, “she always knocks at his Mother’s door”. I too, he remarked , have come here to knock on the door of the house of Mary, so she may help us pass on to future generations those values necessary to build both a more just and fraternal nation and world. In order to do this Pope Francis indicated three simple attitudes to be adopted: to be hopeful, to allow ourselves to be surprised by God and to live joyfully.

To be hopeful, Pope Francis insisted forcefully, because despite the presence of evil in society with its attraction to idols that take the place of God such as money , success, power and pleasure , God always has the upper hand. To allow ourselves to be surprised by God because, even in the midst of difficulties, God can surprise us if we place our trust in him. And to live joyfully because Christians should never be gloomy as they always have at their side, the face of God as a loving Father. Attitudes these the Pope encouraged the faithful to adopt here in Aparecida, where six years ago the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean was held. A Conference Pope Francis described on Wednesday as a great moment for the Church, one which gave birth to a Document which he himself wrote up. And one which six years later he described as the result of interplay between the work of the Bishops and that of the simple faith of the pilgrims under Mary’s maternal protection.

I'm Veronica Scarisbrick



The voice of Jesus

2013-07-22 L’Osservatore Romano

The immediate preparation for the first international journey of this Bishop of Rome, brought from “almost the ends of the earth”, was marked by three gestures, simple but rich in meaning in a sort of “triduum” to introduce the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro desired by Benedict XVI. First of all came the affectionate visit Pope Francis paid to his Predecessor —  it is obvious that the two are  fundamentally in sync — to pray together and to ask for Pope Benedict’s spiritual closeness on the eve of this new and important world event of a Catholicism that is as vivid and vital as it appeared at the meetings in Cologne, Sydney and Madrid.

What came as a surprise was his long, silent prayer before the ancient icon of the Virgin, Our Lady Salus populi Romani, venerated in St Mary Major, where as the new Bishop of Rome he had also chosen to go only a few hours after his election in the Conclave. As a simple member of the faithful on this occasion too Pope Francis brought flowers to Our Lady. He then lit a candle — an image of ceaseless prayer — bearing the logo of the WYD in Rio and he asked those present to accompany him on  his journey with prayer, trust and penance.

Lastly, at the Angelus, which follows the hours of the day referring to the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation, for the third time the Pontiff requested prayers for the Brazilian meeting —  which he called a “week of youth” — and whose core he was able to describe succinctly: “The heroes of this week will be the youth. All those who come to Rio desiring  to hear the voice of Jesus, to listen to Jesus. Lord, what should I do with my life? What is the path for me?”. These are questions, he added, that certainly do not only apply to the meeting in Brazil.

With these three gestures Pope Francis thus manifested the main point of the week, opening in Rio de Janeiro which is consistent with the now almost 30-year old itinerary of the World Youth Days wanted by John Paul II. Emphasizing and witnessing to the centrality of Christ, combining contemplation and service. As the Pope had just said in his comment on the Gospel passage that presents Martha and Mary: For a Christian,  acts of service and charity are never detached from the principle of all our action: that is, listening to the Word of the Lord, and being —  like  Mary — at the feet of Jesus, with the attitude of a disciple”.

Listening to this voice  — which is not imposed but is at the door of every human creature, and knocks, according to the image in the Book of Revelation —  will consequently be the true centre of World Youth Day. After the trip to Lampedusa, a memorable and moving sign of closeness to the most neglected and forlorn humanity of our time, Rio de Janeiro is the first international destination of the pontificate, just as Cologne was for Benedict XVI, in another World Youth Day that thought out by his Predecessor. In an unusual succession of events which marked the return of the two pontiffs — certainly not planned — to the respective lands of their birth: then in the heart of Europe, today, in Latin America. G.M.V.

Vatican Website




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