The Pope : Pray the rosary for vocations to the priesthood and religious life
Lourdes (AsiaNews) The pope, with weary voice, confidently began the rosary at the Grotto of Massabielle this afternoon at 17.30. "Before the grotto of Massabielle," said John Paul II, " I feel deeply that I have reached the goal of my pilgrimage." The Pope defined Lourdes as a "unique school of prayer" and invited hundreds of thousands of pilgrims "to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to virginity for the Kingdom of God."
The Pope, in the pope-mobile, holding the beads of a rosary in his hands, followed the Rosary of the Luminous Mysteries, in a procession of five stations. Every mystery was briefly introduced by Jean Vanier, founder of the L'Arche movement, welcoming communities of the disabled and their assistants.
At the pool, doctors and sick people meditated on the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. At the Adoration tent, the Pope prayed the Second Mystery (the wedding at Cana) with young people. At the Church of St. Bernadette, the decade of the Announcement of the Kingdom of God was recited. At the Chapel of Reconciliation, the priests prayed the Mystery of the Transfiguration of the Lord. The Pope concluded the Rosary with the fifth Mystery- the Institution of the Eucharist- at the Basilica together with the altar-boys.
In the intense concluding prayer, the Pope asked for Mary's help with the following words: "Hail Mary, Woman of suffering, Virgin Spouse at the Cross, be our guide on the roads of the world, teach us to spread the love of Christ, and be with you at the numerous crosses on which your Son is still crucified."
We include the following words with which John Paul II has introduced the recitation of the Rosary and the final prayer:
Introduction to the rosary
"My dear Brothers and Sisters!
Kneeling here, before the grotto of Massabielle, I feel deeply that I have reached the goal of my pilgrimage. This cave, where Mary appeared, is the heart of Lourdes. It reminds us of the cave of Mount Horeb where Elijah met the Lord, who spoke to him in "a still small voice" (1 Kg 19:12).
Here the Blessed Virgin asked Bernadette to recite the Rosary, as she herself told the beads. This grotto has thus become a unique school of prayer where Mary teaches everyone to gaze with burning love upon the face of Christ.
Lourdes is the place, then, where the Christians of France, and those from so many other nations of Europe and the world, fall to their knees and pray.
As pilgrims to Lourdes, we too wish this evening to retrace in prayer, together with Mary our Mother, the "mysteries" in which Jesus reveals that he is the "light of the world". We recall his promise: "He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (Jn 8:12).
We wish to learn from the lowly handmaid of the Lord an attitude of docility and openness to the word of God and a generous commitment to welcoming Christ's teaching into our lives.
In particular, as we meditate on the sharing of the Lord's Mother in her Son's redemptive mission, I would ask you to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to virginity for the Kingdom of God, so that all those who are called will respond with generosity and perseverance.
As we turn to Mary Most Holy, let us pray together with Bernadette: "Good Mother, have mercy on me; I give myself entirely to you, that you may give me to your dear Son, whom I wish to love with my whole heart. Good Mother, grant me a heart all aflame for Jesus".
Hail Mary, poor and humble Woman,
Blessed by the Most High!
Virgin of hope, dawn of a new era,
We join in your song of praise,
to celebrate the Lord's mercy,
to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom
and the full liberation of humanity.
Hail Mary, lowly handmaid of the Lord,
Glorious Mother of Christ!
Faithful Virgin, holy dwelling-place of the Word,
Teach us to persevere in listening to the Word,
and to be docile to the voice of the Spirit,
attentive to his promptings in the depths of our conscience
and to his manifestations in the events of history.
Hail Mary, Woman of sorrows,
Mother of the living!
Virgin spouse beneath the Cross, the new Eve,
Be our guide along the paths of the world.
Teach us to experience and to spread the love of Christ,
to stand with you before the innumerable crosses
on which your Son is still crucified.
Hail Mary, woman of faith,
First of the disciples!
Virgin Mother of the Church, help us always
to account for the hope that is in us,
with trust in human goodness and the Father's love.
Teach us to build up the world beginning from within:
in the depths of silence and prayer,
in the joy of fraternal love,
in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross.
Holy Mary, Mother of believers,
Our Lady of Lourdes,
pray for us.