At Fatima, Pope implores the Virgin for concord among peoples

Francis was welcomed to the Marian shrine by tens of thousands of people. A prayer that also announces the gospel proclamation, tearing down all walls and crossing every frontier, going out “to all the peripheries, to make known God’s justice and peace".

Fatima (AsiaNews) - Concord among all peoples, the ability to be gospel announcers, tearing down all the walls and crossing every frontier, " going out “to all the peripheries, to make known God’s justice and peace". It is the first prayer that Pope Francis addressed to the Virgin of Fatima, as soon as he arrived at the sanctuary.

Tens of thousands of people, gathered from the morning in the large square in front of the sanctuary, to welcome the Pope.

On arriving in Portugal, at the Monte Real Air Base at 16.20 (local time) Francis was received by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa, and other civil and religious authorities. In the airport there was a brief private meeting between the Pope with the head of state. Then, passing between the crowds awaiting him and over a flower petal carpet, he visited the military airport chapel and left for Fatima.

Here he had his first encounter with the faithful and was welcomed by the bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Msgr. Antonio Augusto dos Santos Marto. The fourth Pope to visit the Portuguese shrine after Paul VI (1967), John Paul II (1982, 1991 and 2000) and Benedict XVI (2010), Francis also gifted a golden rose to the Virgin in the Chapel of the Apparitions.

This is the Pope's prayer:

Hail Holy Queen, / Blessed Virgin of Fatima, /Lady of Immaculate Heart, /our refuge and our way to God! /As a pilgrim of the Light that comes to us from your hands, /I give thanks to God the Father, who in every time and place is at work in human history;/As a pilgrim of the Peace that, in this place, you proclaim, /I give praise to Christ, our peace, and I implore for the world concord among all peoples;/As a pilgrim of the Hope that the Spirit awakens,/I come as a prophet and messenger to wash the feet of all, at the same table that unites us.

Hail, Mother of Mercy,/Lady robed in white!/In this place where, a hundred years ago you made known to all the purposes of God’s mercy,/I gaze at your robe of light and, as a bishop robed in white,/I call to mind all those who,/robed in the splendour of their baptism,/desire to live in God and tell the mysteries of Christ in order to obtain peace.

Hail, life and sweetness, / Hail, our hope,/O Pilgrim Virgin, O Universal Queen! /In the depths of your being, in your Immaculate Heart, / you keep the joys of men and women as they journey to the Heavenly Homeland./ In the depths of your being, / in your Immaculate Heart, /you keep the sorrows of the human family, / as they mourn and weep in this valley of tears. / In the depths of your being, /in your Immaculate Heart, /adorn us with the radiance of the jewels of your crown /and make us pilgrims, even as you were a pilgrim. / With your virginal smile, / enliven the joy of Christ’s Church./ With your gaze of sweetness, /strengthen the hope of God’s children./With your hands lifted in prayer to the Lord,/ draw all people together into one human family. /

O clement, O loving, / O sweet Virgin Mary, / Queen of the Rosary of Fatima! / Grant that we may follow the example of Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta, /and of all who devote themselves to proclaiming the Gospel./Thus we will follow all paths /and everywhere make our pilgrim way; /we will tear down all walls /and cross every frontier, / as we go out to every periphery, /to make known God’s justice and peace./ In the joy of the Gospel, we will be the Church robed in white, /the whiteness washed in the blood of the Lamb, / blood that today too is shed in the wars tearing our world apart. /And so we will be, like you, an image of the column of light /that illumines the ways of the world,/making God known to all, / making known to all that God exists, / that God dwells in the midst of his people, /yesterday, today and for all eternity. /

Hail, Mother of the Lord, /Virgin Mary, Queen of the Rosary of Fatima! /Blessed among all women, / you are the image of the Church robed in paschal light, / you are the honour of our people, /you are the victory over every assault of evil. / Prophecy of the merciful love of the Father, / Teacher of the Message of Good News of the Son,/Sign of the burning Fire of the Holy Spirit,/teach us, in this valley of joys and sorrows,/the eternal truths that the Father reveals to the little ones. / Show us the strength of your protective mantle. /In your Immaculate Heart, / be the refuge of sinners /and the way that leads to God./In union with my brothers and sisters, /in faith, in hope and in love, /I entrust myself to you. /In union with my brothers and sisters, through you, I consecrate myself to God,/ O Virgin of the Rosary of Fatima./And at last, enveloped in the Light that comes from your hands,/I will give glory to the Lord for ever and ever. Amen.