Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "There is no Pentecost without the Virgin Mary. Thus it was at the beginning, in the Upper Room where the disciples "devoted themselves to prayer, together with some women and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and his brothers" - as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles ( 1.14), and thus it always is, in every place and every time. " So said Benedict XVI in his reflection before reciting the Regina Caeli with pilgrims in St Peter's Square.
After the Marian prayer, the pontiff also called on all Christians in China and the world to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, which he established on May 24 with the Letter to Chinese Catholics in 2007.
"The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians - said the pope - offers us - tomorrow May 24th - the chance to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Church in China. While the faithful in China are praying that the unity among themselves and with the universal Church will grow ever deeper, Catholics in the world - especially those who are of Chinese origin - will join them in prayer and charity, that the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts, especially in today's solemnity. "
Earlier, Benedict XVI stressed the link between Mary and the Holy Spirit and recalled his recent visit to Fatima, and celebrations with over half million people: "What was the experience of... that immense multitude, in the esplanade of the Shrine where we were all of one heart and one soul, if not a new Pentecost? In our midst there was Mary, the Mother of Jesus. This is the typical experience of the great Marian shrines - Lourdes, Guadalupe, Pompeii, Loreto - or even smaller ones: wherever Christians gather in prayer with Mary The Lord gives his Spirit. "
The pope stressed that Pentecost lives continually in the Church: "The Church constantly lives in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, without which it would exhaust its strength, like a sailboat without wind".
Pope Benedict XVI quoted a few major events of the Spirit: "The Councils, for example, saw sessions rewarded by special effusions of the Holy Spirit, and among these is certainly the Second Vatican Council. We also remember the famous meeting of the ecclesial movements with Pope John Paul II here in St. Peter's Square, on Pentecost in 1998.
"But the Church - he added - knows numerous 'Pentecosts' that enliven local communities: we think of the Liturgies, in particular of those experienced at special moments in the life of the community in which God's power was clearly perceived infusing souls with joy and enthusiasm. We also think of so many prayer meetings, where young people clearly feel God's call to root their lives in his love, even devoting themselves entirely to Him”."Dear friends - he concluded - in this feast of Pentecost, we too want to be spiritually united to the Mother of Christ and the Church faithfully invoking a renewed outpouring of the divine Paraclete. We invoke it for the whole Church and particularly in this Year for Priests, for all the ministers of the Gospel, so that the message of salvation can be preached to all nations. "