05/14/2006, 00.00
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Pope: Immaculate Heart of Mary watches over journey of Church and mankind

Benedict XVI recalled the apparitions of Fatima and the promise of the "Lady of White Light" about her final victory. The pope mentioned persecutions and hardships suffered during the totalitarian regimes of the XX century, as well as the assassination attempt against John Paul II.  At their First Holy Communion, children become "branches" of the Vine that is Jesus Christ.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The pope today once again talked about the apparitions in Fatima and the prophecy uttered by the "Lady of White Light" to the shepherds: "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph". He was speaking during the Regina Caeli prayer, one day after the anniversary of the beginning of the apparitions (13 May 1917) and 25 years after the assassination attempt against Pope Wojtyla, in which the "Servant of God, John Paul II, felt he had been miraculously saved from death by the intervention of 'a maternal hand', as he himself used to say. His entire pontificate was marked by what the Virgin pronounced at Fatima".

Only yesterday, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was welcomed in St Peter's Square by tens of thousands of believers, and a plaque was unveiled in the square on the exact spot where the attempt to take the life of the Polish Pope took place. Benedict XVI recalled that the message the Virgin entrusted in Fatima to the three children, Francesco, Giacinta and Lucia, "following on the one of Lourdes, was a strong call to prayer and conversion. It was a truly prophetic message considering that the XX century was ravaged by unheard-of destruction caused by wars and totalitarian regimes, as well as long drawn out persecution against the Church". The promise of Mary, about the victory of the Immaculate Conception, is one of comfort, although "there is no shortage of worries and suffering, although there are still reasons for apprehension about the future of mankind".

The pope called on one and all to invoke "the most Blessed Mary, thanking her for her constant intercession and praying to her so she may continue to watch over the journey of the Church and of humanity, especially of families, mothers and children."

Some of the pope's words before the Regina Caeli were dedicated especially to children. Recalling that many parishes are celebrating their First Holy Communion in these weeks, Benedict XVI said: "To all children who in these weeks are meeting Jesus for the first time in the Eucharist, I would like to deliver a special greeting, auguring that they may become branches of the Vine that is Jesus and that they may grow up as his true disciples." Citing the parable of the Vine and the branches, proclaimed in today's gospel, the pontiff said: "Christian life is a mystery of communion with Jesus… the secret of spiritual fecundity is union with God, a union realized above all in the Eucharist, rightly also called 'Communion'."

"A certain way of remaining united in Christ is to have recourse to the intercession of Mary."

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