BY Ian Dunn | October 4 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

6-LORETO-PILGRIMS

Pope Benedict entrusts the Year of Faith to Our Lady of Loreto

Today’s pilgrimage to shrine replicates visit by Blessed John XXIII to a week before the opening of the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago

Pope Benedict XVI today made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, a week before the opening of the Year Of Faith to entrust its success to the Mother of God.

The Pope’s pilgrimage replicates a trip by Blessed John XXIII to the same shrine, a week before the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962. During Mass at the shrine Pope Benedict recalled his predecessor, uttering the same words as Pope John had did at the shrine 50 years earlier.

“Again today, and in the name of the entire episcopate, I ask you, sweetest Mother, as help of Bishops, to intercede for me as Bishop of Rome and for all the bishops of the world, to obtain for us the grace to enter the Council Hall of Saint Peter’s Basilica, as the Apostles and the first disciples of Jesus entered the Upper Room: with one heart, one heartbeat of love for Christ and for souls, with one purpose only, to live and to sacrifice ourselves for the salvation of individuals and peoples,” he said.

The Holy Father added that he made the pilgrimage to seek Mary’s blessing in the present time of difficulty for the Church.

“In the present crisis affecting not only the economy but also many sectors of society, the Incarnation of the Son of God speaks to us of how important man is to God, and God to man,” he said. “Without God, man ultimately chooses selfishness over solidarity and love, material things over values, having over being. We must return to God, so that man may return to being man.”

He then called on all Catholics to pray to Mary that the Year of Faith would be a great success.

“On this pilgrimage in the footsteps of Blessed John XXIII I wish to entrust to the Most Holy Mother of God all the difficulties affecting our world as it seeks serenity and peace, the problems of the many families who look anxiously to the future, the aspirations of young people at the start of their lives, the suffering of those awaiting signs or decisions of solidarity and love,” he said. “I also wish to place in the hands of the Mother of God this special time of grace for the Church, now opening up before us.”

The Pope went to and from Loreto by train, embarking at the Vatican’s own station, The first Pope to use that station was Blessed John XXIII.

 

Pic: Pilgrims pray in Loreto

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