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Praying for priests and for peace

· During Regina Caeli the Pope speaks about his Visit to Portugal ·

On Sunday, 9 May, prior to leading the Regina Caeli with the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father commented on May, the Month of the Blessed Virgin, and asked to be accompanied by the prayers of the faithful on his upcoming Apostolic Journey to Portugal for the 10th anniversary of the beatification of the two shepherd children of Fatima, Jacinta and Francisco. The following is a translation of the Pope's Reflection, which was given in Italian.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May is a month beloved and welcomed for many reasons. In our hemisphere, spring comes with a wealth of colourful flowers and normally, the climate is conducive to walks and excursions.

For the Liturgy, May is always part of the Easter Season, the time of the “Alleluia”, of the revelation of Christ's mystery in the light of the Resurrection and of our Paschal faith; and it is the time of awaiting the Holy Spirit who came down on the nascent Church powerfully at Pentecost.

The Church's tradition of dedicating the month of May to the Virgin Mary harmonizes very well with both these contexts, the natural and the liturgical. Indeed, she is the most beautiful flower to have unfolded since the Creation, the “rose” that appeared in the fullness of time when God, by sending his Son, gave the world a new springtime.

At the same time she is the humble and discreet protagonist of the first steps taken by the Christian community: Mary is its spiritual heart since her very presence among the disciples is a living memory of the Lord Jesus and a pledge of the gift of his Spirit.

This Sunday's Gospel, taken from Chapter 14 of the Gospel according to St John, gives us an implicit spiritual portrait of the Virgin Mary when Jesus says: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (cf. Jn 14:23).

These words are addressed to the disciples but can be applied to a maximum degree precisely to the One who was the first and perfect disciple of Jesus. Mary, in fact, observed first and fully the words of her Son, showing that she loved him not only as a mother, but first of all as a humble and obedient handmaid. For this reason God the Father loved her and the Most Holy Trinity made its dwelling place in her.

Furthermore, when Jesus promises his friends that the Holy Spirit will come to their aid to help them remember and deeply understand his every word (cf. Jn 14:26), how can we not think of Mary who, in her heart, the temple of the Holy Spirit, pondered and interpreted faithfully all that her Son said and did? Thus – already before Easter but especially after it – the Mother of Jesus also became the Mother and model of the Church.

Dear friends, in these coming days, in the heart of this Marian month, I will have the joy of going to Portugal. I shall visit Lisbon, the capital, and Porto, the country's second most important city.

The principal destination of my journey is Fatima, on the occasion of the 1oth anniversary of the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco, the two little shepherd children. For the first time as Successor of Peter, I shall visit this Marian shrine that was so dear to the Venerable and dear John Paul II.

I ask everyone to accompany me on this pilgrimage, participating actively with their prayers: with one heart and one mind let us invoke for the Church, and in particular for priests and for peace in the world the intercession of the Virgin Mary.




St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 14, 2019