VATICAN - Benedict XVI: “I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary"

Fatima (Agenzia Fides) - “I have come to Fatima, because today the pilgrim Church, willed by her Son as the instrument of evangelization and the sacrament of salvation, converges upon this place. I have come to Fatima to pray, in union with Mary and so many pilgrims, for our human family, afflicted as it is by various ills and sufferings. Finally, I have come to Fatima…to entrust to Mary’s maternal protection priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries and all those who by their good works make the House of God a place of welcome and charitable outreach.” These were the words of the Holy Father Benedict XVI during the Mass he presided on Thursday, May 13, Solemnity of Our Lady of Fatima, on the esplanade of the Portuguese shrine, on the 10th anniversary of the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco. In his homily, the Pope entrusted “to Heaven all the nations and peoples of the earth,” and continued saying: “In God I embrace all their sons and daughters, particularly the afflicted or outcast, with the desire of bringing them that great hope which burns in my own heart, and which here, in Fatima, can be palpably felt.” The great hope of Christians is the Lord. “In his merciful love, he offers a future to his people: a future of communion with himself,” the Pope explained, highlighting that “our hope has a real foundation, it is based on an event which belongs to history and at the same time transcends history: Jesus of Nazareth.”Making reference to the “prophetic mission of Fatima,” Benedict XVI explained that it has not ended, and after recalling the biblical passage of the assassination of Abel, he commented: “Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end…At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart.”On the evening of May 12, the Holy Father Benedict XVI visited the Chapel of the Apparitions at the Shrine’s esplanade, where he blessed the candles for the Procession and led the recitation of the Holy Rosary. In his address to the faithful, the Pope said: “All of you, standing together with lighted candles in your hands, seem like a sea of light around this simple chapel, lovingly built to the honor of the Mother of God and our mother, whose path from earth to heaven appeared to the shepherd children like a way of light. However, neither Mary nor we have a light of our own: we receive it from Jesus.” Then, after encouraging everyone to imitate Mary in her spirit of obedience to God’s Will, Benedict XVI said: “In our time, in which the faith in many places seems like a light in danger of being snuffed out for ever, the highest priority is to make God visible in the world and to open to humanity a way to God.” He then exhorted them: “Do not be afraid to talk of God and to manifest without fear the signs of faith, letting the light of Christ shine in the presence of the people of today.” The Holy Father concluded his address with these words: “I bring with me the worries and hopes of our times, the sufferings of our wounded humanity and the problems of the world, and I place them at the feet of Our Lady of Fatima: Virgin Mother of God and our own dear Mother, intercede for us before your Son, that the family of nations, both those called Christians and those who do not yet know the Saviour, may live in peace and harmony, in order that they come together as the one people of God, to the glory of the most holy and indivisible Trinity.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 14/05/2010)

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