05/01/2006, 00.00
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Recite the Rosary to experience love and cause the light of God to enter into the world, says Pope

The Pontiff mentions landslide victims in Ischia and soldiers fallen in a Nasiriyah, whom he entrusts to Mary, Queen of Peace.

Rome (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI began the month traditionally devoted to Mary by reciting the Rosary at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love to urge Christians to experience "love", "cause the light of God to enter into the world," and convert to "the Loving God so that the world is free from wars and terrorism".

After the 'Joyful Mysteries", the Pope spoke to the faithful gathered in the small and ancient church and in the shrine's forecourt in the presence of card Camillo Ruini, vicar general of Rome, Mgr Paolo Schiavon, auxiliary bishop for the southern sector of the Diocese of Rome, and Mgr Pasquale Silla, the shrine's rector.

The Pope said that through the devotions to Mary expressed in the Rosary we can contemplate the mysteries that "begin our salvation" and thus follow in the footsteps of Jesus and Mary, turning to Her with the words of the Archangel Gabriel and Elizabeth as reported in the Gospel.

In mentioning the name of the shrine—"Divine Love"—, Benedict XVI said that "there is a link that joins Mary to the Holy Spirit", one that makes her a "woman who loves, "who in her faith thinks through God's thoughts and wills through God's will". For this reason the Pontiff said, "together with our brothers in faith of every age and place, we turn to Her when in need or hopeful, when happy or sorrowful".

"From here, the Shrine of Divine Love, we expect great spiritual support and help for the Diocese of Rome, its bishop and the other bishops who work as my aides; for priests, families and the poor: for the suffering, the sick, the very young and very old; for the whole of our beloved Italian nation". At this point of his address, the Pope spoke about the victims of yesterday's landslide on Ischia Island and the Italian soldiers killed in an attack a few days ago in the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah.

Between Saturday and Sunday, the flow of Romans coming on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love never stopped, not even at night. The shrine honours a vow made by the people of Rome and Pope Pius XII in which they called on the All-mighty to spare the city from air bombing during World War Two.

In recalling the vow made by the people of Rome on June 4, 1944 ("a pledge to correct and improve one's moral behaviour so that it conforms more to that of Our Lord Jesus"), the Pope stressed that "even today we need to convert to God, to the Loving God, so that the world is free from wars and terrorism. Sadly, we are reminded of this by those, like the soldiers who fell in Nasiriyah, who are their victims. Let us entrust them to the intercession of Mary, Queen of Peace".

Finally, "dear brother and sisters," the Holy Father said, "from the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love I invite you again to do what I said in the encyclical Deus caritas est (Nº 39), namely "[t]o experience love and in this way cause the light of God to enter into the world. Amen!"

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