John Paul II Entrusts Peace of World to Virgin Mary

At Open-Air Ceremony in Piazza di Spagna

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2001 ( John Paul II expressed words of sadness and concern Friday when he entrusted the peace of the world to the Immaculate Conception.

“Dark clouds gather on the horizon of the world,” the Pope said. “Humanity, which greeted the dawn of the third millennium with hope, now feels overwhelmed by the threat of new and disconcerting conflicts.”

The Holy Father´s words were part of a prayer he recited on his knees, before the historic statue of the Immaculate Conception, in Rome´s Piazza di Spagna.

“Peace in the world is endangered,” the Pontiff said, as he prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is why “we come to you, Immaculate Virgin, to ask you to obtain, as an understanding and strong Mother, that spirits, freed from the smoke of hatred, be open to mutual forgiveness, constructive solidarity and peace.”

More than 10,000 people attended the open-air ceremony, including top city officials.

The Holy Father proposed Christian commitment as a source of hope, given the current grave situation.

“Every believer, in his own circumstances of life,” must become a sign “so that all will see clearly that fidelity to Christ changes one´s personal life and augurs for a future of peace, a better future for all,” he concluded.

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