VATICAN CITY, OCT. 1, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Looking ahead to his pilgrimage to Pompeii in southern Italy, John Paul II invited believers to pray the rosary.
“God willing, on Oct. 7, the day dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary,” the Pope told today’s general audience, “I will go on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Pompeii to thank God for the work of sanctification of hearts that he realizes uninterruptedly thanks to this prayer.”
At that moment of the audience, the Holy Father was greeting Polish pilgrims who were among the 12,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“Let us take ever more recourse to her,” John Paul II said in his mother tongue. “May the living of the mysteries of Christ with Mary bring us ever closer to him, and be a spiritual path toward our meeting with him in the glory of heaven.”
The Holy Father, who at times seemed fatigued while reading his address and greeting pilgrims in 10 languages, spoke again in Italian before bidding the pilgrims farewell. He reminded them that this month marks the end of the Year of the Rosary.
Greeting young people, the sick and newlyweds in the square, the Pontiff invited them to “pray with devotion this prayer so loved by the tradition of the Christian people.”
“Abandon yourselves with confidence into the hands of Mary, invoking her incessantly with the rosary, meditation of the mysteries of Christ,” he added, prompting spontaneous applause from the faithful.
On his pilgrimage to Pompeii, the Holy Father will leave the Vatican by helicopter at 9 a.m. He will go to pray for world peace and to recite the rosary at a shrine near Naples. He is scheduled to return to Rome at 1:30 p.m.
Vatican sources confirmed to ZENIT that the Pope, as previously scheduled, will participate this Sunday in the Mass of canonization of three blessed: Daniel Comboni, Arnold Janssen and Josef Freinademetz.