Liturgical Season 12/9/03 World News
New Resources  Marian Events  Mary in the Secular Press
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Marian Library
 Prayer Corner News Archives

Mary Page News items give insight into our interest areas, our outreach, and the many ways people honor Our Lady. We welcome your input and your comments.

Liturgical Season

To celebrate the month of December with Mary:

Marian Commemoration Days

Mary Page offers a variety of resources inviting study, reflection and meditation.  We also list important Marian dates for each month of the year.  Please see Marian Commemoration Days for the month of December.

Rosary Markings

Rosary Markings is an answer to John Paul II's proclamation of "The Year of the Rosary" (2002-2003).  Rosary Markings will explore various facets of the rosary all through this anniversary year.  It will be updated frequently.  

See our recent addition from November 4.  Previous Reflections are listed on our Rosary Index.  Please note that many of these documents are available in Spanish as well as English.

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New Resources

A section on international stamps with images of Mary has been added to our Resources index.  The latest added was Guyana.  Expect more countries to follow.

A section on Marian Spiritualities has also been added to our Resources index.  The latest addition was a paper on the Rosary spirituality of Faustino Perez Manglano.  Expect more articles to follow.

We have revised our Advent Calendar, as well as our answer to a reader's question, What are the fifteen symbols of the Immaculata represented on the famous tapestry of Our Lady in Reims, France?  We have also expanded our list of Marian and Related Links and as our page on The Hail Mary in Various Languages.  Also, we have added a streaming video on our Creche Collection and our answer to a reader's question, Where do the many Nativity motifs--Cave, Ox and ass, and many more--come from?

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  News from the Marian Library

New Exhibits

Creche Displays

St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, 8th and Plum Sts, Downtown Cincinnati

November30 - January 4
Sundays: 12:30 - 5:00 pm
Saturdays: 12:30 - 4:00 pm
Weekdays: 12:00 - 2:00 pm

Special Arrangements can be made for groups
For more information, call Barbara Neff: 433-6592 or Kathy Kavanaugh: 434-6841

The Marian Library, located on the 7th floor of the Roesch Library on the UD campus

December 1 - January 9, Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Bergamo/St. John Gallery at 4400 Shakertown Road

December 3 - January 7, noon to 4 pm on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays

See the virtual exhibit on the Mary Page Gallery  under Current Exhibit.

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International Marian Research Institute Course Schedule

IMRI courses for the Fall 2003 semester concluded on Nov. 14.  The schedule of future IMRI courses will be posted on the Mary Page when available.

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Personal thoughts and reflections about Mary 
from our readers 

We've added a section to our Research and Publications section showing selected personal comments from our readers about the Virgin Mary.  Click here to see comments received within the past month.  From this page, feel free to submit your own personal thoughts on Mary.  

We also encourage our readers to submit their opinions on various styles of Marian Art through an on-line art survey.

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Marian Events

Ohio Concerts

For a true Christmas spirit concert, please note that Tatiana, the professional singer and former pop star in Europe, will perform "Emmanuel, the Story of Christmas" on the following dates and places:

Wed. Dec. 17, 2003, 8 p.m.
Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center
Cincinnati, OH

Thurs. Dec. 18, 7 p.m.
St. James Parish
White Oak, OH

Fri. Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.
St. Julie Billiart Parish
Hamilton, OH

Sat. Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.
St. Christopher's Parish
Vandalia, OH

Sun. Dec. 21, 7 p.m.
St. Charles Borromeo Parish
Kettering, OH

It should be good because the program includes Ani Ma'amin (Hebrew Chant), O Come O Come Emmanuel, Angelus, Breath of Heaven, Magnificat, From Bethlehem of Judah, The Hands That First Held Mary's Child, Gloria in Excelsis Deo, What Child is This, One Solitary Life, and Silent Night.

The flyer didn't mention any cost. Possibly it's a free will offering and afterwards opportunity to buy her CD's. To check, one may phone the concert location where one is interested in attending. For more info, and to look into booking Tatiana for future dates, surf to www.CameronProductions.org or call 310-859-6994.

Click this link for a list of all of the current Marian Events by geographical position.

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Prayer Corner Requests

You are invited to help us pray for our Prayer Corner intentions.  Please take a look!  This site has been updated and enhanced and now allows users to directly submit prayer requests or to volunteer as a prayer partner for these intentions!

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News from Around the World



In reflections made before reciting the Angelus from his study window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul today reflected on the meaning of Advent and asked Mary Immaculate, whose feast the Church celebrates tomorrow, "to help us to prepare well‘the way of the Lord’ within ourselves and in the world."

He said that "The entire liturgy of Advent echoes (St. John the Baptist), the precursor of Christ, who invites us to go out to welcome Christ Who comes to save us. We thus prepare to commemorate the birth that took place in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. We renew our faith in His glorious coming to the end of time. We thus prepare to recognize Him in our midst. He in fact visits us even in the people and events of our daily life."

"Our model and guide," added the Pope, "in this spiritual itinerary typical of Advent is Mary. She who is blessed much more because she believed in Christ than because she physically gave Him life. In her, preserved free from every sin and filled with grace, God found ‘good earth’ to plant the seed of the new humanity."

Following the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father addressed university students, Romans and those from other countries, inviting them to the Mass that will be held for students of Roman universities on Thursday, December 11 at 5 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica.

ANG/ADVENT/… VIS 031209 (240)

From Zenit

A Key Marian Dogma Is Noted in Message for Day of the Sick

Pope Says Immaculate Conception Reminds Us of a Fundamental Truth

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 5, 2003 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II initiated preparations for the 150th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception with his message for the 2004 World Day of the Sick.

The World Day, on Feb. 11, will be focused on the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous and told her that she, the Mother of God, is the "Immaculate Conception."

With the apostolic constitution "Ineffabilis Deus," of Dec. 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX stated that "God has revealed the doctrine that affirms that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, by a particular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, was preserved from all stain of original sin from the first instant of her conception."

John Paul II in his message for the forthcoming World Day of the Sick states: "The miracle of the Immaculate Conception reminds believers of a fundamental truth: It is only possible to attain salvation by participating with docility in the plan of the Father, who willed to redeem the world through the death and resurrection of his only-begotten Son."

"With the Immaculate Conception of Mary began the great work of redemption, which took place with the precious blood of Christ," the text adds. "In him every person is called to fulfillment in the perfection of holiness."

It continues: "From the paradox of the cross stems the answer to our most troubling questions. Christ suffers for us: He takes upon himself the sufferings of all and redeems them. Christ suffers with us, giving us the possibility to share our sufferings with him. Human suffering, united to Christ's, becomes a means of salvation."

"Sorrow, accepted in faith, becomes a door to enter into the mystery of the Lord's redeeming suffering. A suffering which no longer takes away peace and happiness, as it is enlightened by the radiance of the resurrection," the Pope writes.

"If Jesus is the source of life that conquers death, Mary is the affectionate Mother who comes to meet her children's expectations, obtaining for them the salvation of soul and body," the papal message adds, made public this week by the Vatican press office.

"This is the message that the Shrine of Lourdes constantly presents to devotees and pilgrims," the message says. "This is also the meaning of the physical and spiritual healings that take place in the grotto of Massabielle," where Mary appeared on Feb. 11, 1858.

John Paul II Commends Peace of World to Mary

During Traditional Homage for Immaculate Conception

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org)

John Paul II commended the peace of the world to the Blessed Virgin Mary on the solemnity of her Immaculate Conception.

The Pope, wearing his long red cape, faced a cold wind this evening in Rome's Piazza di Spagna, to render homage to the image of the Mother of Christ, erected after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, in 1854.

"Obtain for the men and women of the third millennium the precious gift of peace: peace in hearts and in families, in communities and among peoples; peace especially for those nations where combating and dying continue every day," the Pope implored.

Despite a hoarse voice and moments of loss of breath, the Holy Father read his prayer completely, a prayer not lacking in personal overtones.

"I have come here, this evening, to render you the homage of my sincere devotion," he said in his prayer. "It is a gesture in which I am joined in this piazza by innumerable Romans, whose affection has always accompanied me in all the years of my service to the See of Peter."

The prayer, composed with "intense trepidation" and "trust," was addressed to the "Queen of Peace," one of the titles of the Virgin Mary, "in these times marked by not a few uncertainties and fears over the present and future fate of our planet," the Pope added.

"Listen to the cry of pain of the victims of war and of so many forms of violence that bloody the earth," he said. "Dispel the darkness of sadness and solitude, of hatred and vengeance. Open the minds and hearts of all to trust and forgiveness."

"Help every human being, and all races and cultures, to encounter and accept Jesus, who came on earth in the mystery of Christmas to give us his peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, give us Christ, true peace of the world," he concluded.

Appearing at the window of his study at midday, to pray the Angelus, John Paul II presented the Immaculate Conception as "the pledge of salvation for every human being."

"Mary is our unbreakable support in the hard struggle against sin and its consequences," he added, when offering a meditation on today's feast to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.


Mel Gibson's "Passion": On Review at the Vatican

Exclusive Interview With Father Di Noia of the Doctrinal Congregation

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org)

Several high-ranking Vatican officials who attended a private screening of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" this past weekend in Rome came away impressed.

Members from the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the group that oversees Catholic doctrinal questions, expressed unanimous appreciation and approval of the film.

The following is an exclusive ZENIT interview with one of the viewers, Dominican Father Augustine Di Noia, undersecretary of the doctrinal congregation.

Father Di Noia taught theology in Washington, D.C., for 20 years, and served for seven years as the theologian for the U.S. bishops' conference before coming to work for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the doctrinal congregation a little over a year ago.

The film is scheduled for release in 2004.

Q: Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" has been a newsmaker for months--well before its scheduled release. As one of the handful of people who have actually seen it, what is your overall impression of the film?

Father Di Noia: Seeing this film will be an intensely religious experience for many people. It was for me.

Stunning cinematography and consistently brilliant acting, combined with the director's profound spiritual insight into the theological meaning of the passion and death of Christ--all contribute to a production of exquisite artistic and religious sensitivity.

Anyone seeing this film--believer and unbeliever alike--will be forced to confront the central mystery of Christ's passion, indeed of Christianity itself: If this is the remedy, what must the harm have been?

The Curé of Ars says somewhere that no one could have an idea or explain what Our Lord has suffered for us; to grasp this, we would have to know all the harm sin has caused him, and we won't know this until the hour of our death.

In a way that only great art can do, Mel Gibson's film helps us grasp something almost beyond our comprehension. At the outset, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the devil tempts Christ with the unavoidable question: How can anyone bear the sins of the whole world? It's too much. Christ nearly shrinks at the prospect, but then convincingly proceeds to do just that--to take on, according to his Father's will, the sins of the whole world. It's astonishing really.

There is a powerful sense, sustained throughout the film, of the cosmic drama of which we are all a part. There is no possibility of neutrality here, and no one can remain simply an onlooker in these events. The stakes are very high indeed--something that, apart from Christ himself, is most clearly intuited only by his mother Mary and by the ever-present devil.

Gradually the viewer joins the characters in a dawning realization about this as the action moves inexorably from the Mount of Olives to the Mount of Calvary.

Q: Is the film faithful to account of the passion of Christ in the New Testament?

Father Di Noia: Remember, there are four accounts of the passion of Christ in the New Testament, concerned chiefly to present the religious meaning of these events.

In "The Death of the Messiah"--probably the most complete and most balanced study of the Passion narratives ever written--Father Raymond Brown demonstrated that, while there are some differences among them, they are in substantial agreement overall.

Mel Gibson's film is not a documentary but a work of artistic imagination. He incorporates elements from the Passion narratives of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but remains faithful to the fundamental structure common to all four accounts. Within the limits possible in an imaginative reconstruction of the passion of Christ, Gibson's film is entirely faithful to the New Testament.

Q: What struck you most about the film?

Father Di Noia: You want the simple answer? Jim Caviezel and Maia Morgenstern. Playing Christ has to be one of the hardest of all dramatic roles. I was very struck by the intensity of Caviezel's portrayal of Christ. This is not easy to pull off, without the appearance of an intrusive self-consciousness.

Caviezel--and surely Gibson too--understand that Jesus is the incarnate divine Son of God, who is nonetheless fully human. Thinking back on the film, I realize that Caviezel accomplishes this primarily through his gaze, even when he looks out at us and those surrounding him through his one uninjured eye.

Caviezel conveys, entirely convincingly and effectively, that Christ is enduring his passion and death willingly, in obedience to his Father, in order to satisfy for the disobedience of sin. We are witnessing what the Church would come to call Christ's "voluntary suffering."

Recall the words of St. Paul: "Just as through one man's disobedience all became sinners, so through one man's obedience, all shall become just" [see Romans 5:19]. And it's not just about obedience. It's mainly about love. Christ is enduring this out of love for his Father--and for us. Dramatically, there is absolutely no doubt about this in Jim Caviezel's outstanding portrayal of Jesus in this film.

But Maia Morgenstern's Mary is equally powerful. It reminded me of something St. Anselm said in a sermon about the Blessed Mother: Without God's Son, nothing could exist; without Mary's Son, nothing could be redeemed.

Watching Morgenstern's portrayal of Mary, you get the strong sense that Mary "lets go" of her Son so he can save us, and, joining in his suffering, becomes the Mother of all the redeemed.

Q: There have been reports that the film is excessively violent. What did you think?

Father Di Noia: It's not so much violent as it is brutal. Christ is treated brutally, chiefly by the Roman soldiers. But there is no gratuitous violence. The artistic sensibility at work here is clearly more that of Grünwald and Caravaggio than that of Fra Angelico or Pinturrichio.

We are talking about a film, of course, but Gibson has clearly been influenced by the depiction of the sufferings of Christ in Western painting. The utter ruination of Christ's body--graphically portrayed in this remarkable film--must be set within this context of artistic depiction. What many artists merely suggest, Gibson wants to show us.

In a manner entirely consistent with the Christian theological tradition, Gibson dramatically presents to us the Incarnate Son who is able to bear what an ordinary person could not--both in terms of physical and mental torment. In the end, the ruined body of Christ must be seen with the eyes of Isaiah the prophet who described the Suffering Servant as bruised beyond recognition.

The physical beauty of Jim Caviezel serves to accentuate the overall impact of the progressive disfigurement which Christ undergoes before our eyes--with the terrible result that, like the Suffering Servant, "he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him" [Isaiah 53:2]. It requires the eyes of faith to see that the disfigurement of Christ's body represents the spiritual disfigurement and disorder caused by sin.

Gibson's portrayal of the scourging of Christ--from which many viewers may be tempted to turn their gaze--presents graphically what St. Paul says in Second Corinthians: "For our sake he [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" [5:21]. When you see the ruined body of Christ in this film, you know what it means "to be sin."

Q: Over the years, many directors have tried their hand at films about Jesus, or the passion. Does Mel Gibson's film strike you as being particularly original?

Father Di Noia: I am not a film critic. Critics will have to judge Gibson's film in comparison with other great depictions of Christ's life and passion, such as Pasolini's and Zeffirelli's. Like these other filmmakers, Mel Gibson brings his own unique artistic sensibility to the subject matter, and in that sense his film is entirely original.

Certainly, "The Passion of the Christ" is much more intensely focused on the suffering and death of Christ than most other films in this genre. But, as an initial reaction, three things about Gibson's film strike me as being quite distinctive.

One is the portrayal of the devil, hovering in the background, and sometimes in the foreground, as a constant, eerily menacing presence. I can't think of another film that has done this with such dramatic effectiveness.

Another thing is Christ's solitude: Somehow, though surrounded by crowds of people, the film shows that Jesus is really alone in enduring this terrible suffering.

Finally, there is the depiction of the Last Supper by means of a series of flashbacks interwoven with the action of the film. Lying on the blood-drenched stone pavement after the scourging, Christ eyes the blood-spattered feet of one of the soldiers, and the film flashes back, significantly, to the washing of his disciples' feet at the Last Supper.

Similar flashbacks throughout the rest of the passion and crucifixion bring us to the breaking of bread and the drinking of the cup: The audience, through Christ's eyes, witnesses him saying "This is my body" and "This is my blood." The sacrificial, and thus eucharistic, meaning of Calvary is depicted through these haunting flashbacks.

There is a powerful Catholic sensibility at work here. In his recent encyclical on the Eucharist, Pope John Paul II says that Christ established the memorial of his passion and death before he suffered--in anticipation of the actual sacrifice of the cross. In Mel Gibson's artistic imagination, Christ "remembers" the Last Supper even as he enacts the sacrifice it memorializes.

For many Catholics who see these images, Mass will never be the same. In any case, issues of originality entirely aside, Mel Gibson's film will undoubtedly be considered to be among the very best.

Q: Does "The Passion" blame anyone for what happened to Christ?

Father Di Noia: That's a very interesting, and very difficult question. Suppose you pose it to someone who was unfamiliar with the Gospel passion narratives until seeing this film.

"Who is to blame for what happened to Jesus?" you ask. The other person pauses for a moment to think about this, and then responds: "Well, they all are, aren't they?" This answer seems exactly right to me.

Looking at "The Passion" strictly from a dramatic point of view, what happens in the film is that each of the main characters contributes in some way to Jesus' fate: Judas betrays him; the Sanhedrin accuses him; the disciples abandon him; Peter denies knowing him; Herod toys with him; Pilate allows him to be condemned; the crowd mocks him; the Roman soldiers scourge, brutalize and finally crucify him; and the devil, somehow, is behind the whole action.

Of all the main characters in the story, perhaps only Mary is really blameless. [emphasis mine]  Gibson's film captures this feature of the Passion narratives very well. No one person and group of persons acting independently of the others is to blame: They all are.

Q: Are you saying that no one in particular is to blame for Christ's passion and death?

Father Di Noia: Well, I guess I am saying that--certainly in a dramatic sense. But from a theological point of view, too, Mel Gibson has depicted in a very effective way this crucial element in the Christian understanding of the passion and death of Christ.

The narrative recounts how the sins of all these people conspire to bring about the passion and death of Christ, and thereby suggests the fundamental truth that we are all to blame. Their sins and our sins bring Christ to the cross, and he bears them willingly.

That is why it is always a serious misreading of the Passion stories in the Gospel either to try to assign blame to one character or group in the story, or, more fatefully, to try to exempt oneself from blame. The trouble with this last move is that, if I am not one of the blameworthy, then how can I be among those who share in the benefits of the cross?

A line from a Christmas carol comes to mind: "As far as the curse extends, so far does his mercy flow." We must acknowledge that our sins are among those Christ bore, in order to be included in his prayer, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." We very much want not to be left out of this prayer.

The Christian reader is summoned to find his or her place within this drama of redemption. This is clear in the solemn public reading of the Passion narratives during the Catholic liturgies of Holy Week, when the congregation takes the part of the crowd that shouts such things as "Crucify him."

In a paradoxical way, the liturgy helps us to understand these otherwise horrendous outcries as prayer. Naturally, we don't literally "want" Christ to suffer crucifixion, but we do want to be saved from our sins. In the perspective of faith, even the chilling "Let his blood be upon us and on our children" must be understood not as a curse but as a prayer.

Precisely what we want--and what even the crowd gathered before Pilate unknowingly wanted--is that, as the Book of Revelation puts it, we be "washed in the Blood of the Lamb."

Q: There has been a lot of controversy about the film's alleged anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism. Can you tell ZENIT what you think about this?

Father Di Noia: Speaking as a Catholic theologian, I would be bound to condemn anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism in any recounting of the passion and death of Christ--and not just because of the terrible harm that has been done to Jewish people on these grounds, but also because, as I have already suggested, this represents a profound misreading of the passion narratives.

But let me answer your question plainly: There is absolutely nothing anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish about Mel Gibson's film.

It is regrettable that people who had not seen the film, but only reviewed early versions of the script, gave rise to the charge that "The Passion of the Christ" is anti-Semitic. I am convinced that once the film is released and people get a chance to see it, the charge of anti-Semitism will simply evaporate.

The film neither exaggerates nor downplays the role of Jewish authorities and legal proceedings in the condemnation of Jesus. But precisely because it presents a comprehensive account of what might be called the "calculus of blame" in the passion and death of Christ, the film would be more likely to quell anti-Semitism in its audiences than to excite it.

From a theological perspective, what is even more important is that the film conveys something that the evangelists and the Church have always seen clearly: What Christ experiences in the journey from Gethsemane to Golgotha, and beyond, would be completely unintelligible apart from God's covenant with Israel.

The conceptual framework is set almost entirely by the history and literature, the prophets and heroes, the stories and legends, the symbols, rites, and observances, and ultimately the entire culture of Judaism.

It is this framework, most fundamentally, that renders intelligible and expressible the natural need for satisfaction and redemption in the face of human sin and the loving determination on God's part to fill this need.

Far from inciting anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism, Gibson's film will compel his audiences to deepen their understanding of this indispensable context of the passion and death of the Jesus of Nazareth, the Suffering Servant.

Q: What will the film's impact be?

Father Di Noia: You know that throughout Christian history, the faithful have been encouraged to meditate on the passion of Christ. The spirituality of every great saint--the names of St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena, come immediately to mind--has been marked by a devotion to the passion of Christ.

Why was this? Because it was recognized that there was no surer way to summon from the human heart the love that even begins adequately to respond to the love of God who gave his Son for our sake.

I think that Mel Gibson's film will move people to this kind of love. Your heart would have to be made of stone for it to remain unmoved by this extraordinary film and by the unfathomable depth of divine love it endeavors to bring to life on the screen.

On Solemnity of Immaculate Conception

Pope Reflects on Mary's Aid in Struggle Against Sin

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org)

Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, before praying the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

1. "Tota pulchra es Maria" -- You are all beautiful, O Mary!

Today the Church celebrates the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If Christ is the day that knows no setting, Mary is the radiant dawn of beauty.

Chosen to be the Mother of the Word Incarnate, Mary is at the same time first in his redemptive work. The grace of Christ the Redeemer acted in her in an anticipated manner, preserving her from original sin and from all fault.

2. Because of this, Mary is "full of grace" (Luke 1:28), as the Angel affirmed when he brought to her the announcement of her divine maternity. The human mind cannot attempt to understand such a great prodigy and mystery. It is faith that reveals that the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin is the pledge of salvation for every human being, pilgrim on earth. It is also faith that reminds us that, in the strength of her most singular condition, Mary is our unbreakable support in the hard struggle against sin and its consequences.

3. In keeping with a beautiful tradition, this afternoon I will go to Piazza di Spagna, and so render homage to the Immaculate Virgin. Blessed Pope Pius IX had her effigy placed at the top of a column in perpetual memory of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, proclaimed on Dec. 8, 1854. With today's pilgrimage, therefore, we enter in the 150th anniversary of that solemn act of the magisterium of the Church.

As of now I invite you to join me in invoking the intercession of Mary Immaculate for the Church, for the city of Rome, and for the whole world.

[Translation by ZENIT]


Pope's Prayer to Mary for World Peace

At Piazza di Spagna in Rome

ROME, DEC. 8, 2003 (Zenit.org)

Here is a translation of John Paul II's prayer to Mary for peace in the world, which he recited at Piazza di Spagna in the evening, on the solemnity of her Immaculate Conception.

* * *

1. Queen of Peace, pray for us!

On the feast of your Immaculate Conception, I come to venerate you, O Mary, at the foot of this effigy, which from Piazza di Spagna allows your maternal gaze to extend over this ancient, and for me very dear, city of Rome.

I have come here, this evening, to render you the homage of my sincere devotion. It is a gesture in which I am joined in this Piazza by innumerable Romans, whose affection has always accompanied me in all the years of my service to the See of Peter.

I am here with them to start on the path toward the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the dogma that we celebrate today with filial joy.

2. Queen of Peace, pray for us!

We turn our gaze to you with intense trepidation, we take recourse to you with insistent trust in these times marked by not a few uncertainties and fears over the present and future fate of our planet.

To you, the first of humanity redeemed by Christ, finally liberated from the slavery of evil and sin, we raise a heartfelt and confident supplication: Listen to the cry of pain of the victims of war and of so many forms of violence that bloody the earth.

Dispel the darkness of sadness and solitude, of hatred and vengeance, Open the minds and hearts of all to trust and forgiveness!

3. Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Mother of mercy and of hope, obtain for the men and women of the third millennium the precious gift of peace: peace in hearts and in families, in communities and among peoples; peace especially for those nations where every day combating and dying continue.

Help every human being, and all races and cultures, to encounter and accept Jesus, who came on earth in the mystery of Christmas to give us "his" peace.

Mary, Queen of Peace, give us Christ, true peace of the world!

From L’Osservatore Romano

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