Marian Viewpoint Emphasized in Message

Pope Touches on a Theme of Year of the Rosary

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 25, 2002 ( John Paul II’s 25th Christmas is marked by the Year of the Rosary he proclaimed last October.

In his homily for Christmas Eve Midnight Mass as well as his Christmas greeting to the world, the Pope dedicated passages to encourage contemplation of the face of the Christ Child.

«In that Child, wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in the manger, it is God himself who comes to visit us, to guide our feet in the way of peace,» the Holy Father affirmed in the Christmas message.

«Mary watches him, caresses him and keeps him warm, pondering the meaning of the wondrous signs which surround the mystery of Christmas,» he said.

«In the cold stable, wrapped in silence, the Virgin Mother, with prophetic intuition, already tastes the violent drama of Calvary, the traumatic struggle between darkness and light, between death and life, between hatred and love,» the Pope said. «The Prince of Peace, born today in Bethlehem, will give his life on Golgotha, so that love may reign on earth.»

The Holy Father’s message concluded with a prayer directed toward Mary in which he asks her to help mankind to recognize the face of Christ «in the children of every race and culture.»

«Help us to be credible witnesses of his message of peace and love, so that the men and women of our own time, still torn by conflicts and unspeakable violence, may also recognize in the Child cradled in your arms the one Saviour of the world, the endless source of that true peace for which every heart profoundly yearns,» he said.

The Pope has proclaimed the Year of the Rosary to invite Christians to rediscover the prayer which contemplates the great mysteries of Christ with the eyes of Mary.

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