· On the Feast of the Transfiguration a Visit to the Shrine of ‘Our Lady of the Needy’ ·
On the Liturgical Feast of the Transfiguration, 6 August, the day on which the Gospel presents Jesus in prayer on the mountain, Benedict xvi went to a small shrine in the hills known as “Madonna dei Bisognosi” [Our Lady of the Needy]. Fr Federico Lombardi, sj, Director of the Holy See Press Office, reported that the Holy Father wished to pray in the old Marian Church located on the border between the central Italian Regions of Lazio and Abruzzo.
Built on Mount Serrasecca that separates the municipalities of Pereto and Rocca di Botte in the region of L’Aquila, St Mary of the Needy celebrated its 14th centenary in June. Since 610 – presumed to be the year of the translation from Seville to the Mountain of Carsoli of the wooden statue of Our Lady from whom the Shrine takes its name – this Marian site has also housed a very ancient wooden crucifix and particularly fine frescos.
Popes down the ages have honoured the Shrine, the destinati0n of the faithful and devotees, by granting numerous Indulgences.
It is believed that St Francis, in 1216, and Alexander iv, in 1250, are among the distinguished visitors who came to venerate Our Lady of the Needy. More recently, in July 1990, Mother Teresa of Calcutta visited the Shrine and, in October 2003, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger came here while he was staying at Collalto Sabino.
After visiting the Marian Shrine, Fr Lombardi's communiqué said that the Pontiff had lunch at Carsoli with the community of religious with whom Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini is staying.
In the afternoon, accompanied by Mons. Georg Gänswein, his Private Secretary, Benedict xvi went to Rocca di Mezzo. Welcomed by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, he met the parish priest, the mayor and other members of the municipal council. In this town the Pope also visited the Church of San Leucio – damaged by the earthquake in April 2009 that devastated L’Aquila and the surrounding region – to pray for the people and families still suffering from the effects of the earthquake.
The Holy Father returned to Castel Gandolfo in the evening.
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