Sicilian Insight: Why Mary Weeps

Palermo Cardinal Closes Marian Year in Syracuse

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SYRACUSE, Sicily, SEPT. 3, 2003 ( John Paul II’s special envoy closed the celebrations of the Marian Year at the Shrine of the Virgin of Tears, venturing why the image of Mary wept a half-century ago.

During his Angelus address last Sunday, the Pope spoke about the miraculous event of Aug. 29, 1953, when, in the home of Antonia and Angelo Iannuso, a plaster plaque of the Immaculate Heart of Mary shed tears.

At a crowded Mass in the shrine on Monday, Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, archbishop of Palermo, explained the meaning of Mary’s lacrimation.

«Mary’s tears are above all tears of sorrow for the phenomena of religious and moral degradation, which grow in the world due to the loss of the sense of sin,» the papal envoy said.

«They are tears of concern for the precarious situation of many of our brethren; tears of affliction for the victims of terrorism, wars, guerrilla groups, which exist in so many parts of the world,» he added.

«But the tears are also tears of joy for the resurgence of the need for God, although it often occurs in an unperceived way or is not confessed,» he added. «They are tears of exultation for the new vocations that are arising […] and for the new awareness of the mission proper to all the baptized.»

More details, in Italian, on the shrine are at

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