Pope Greets Immigrant Latin American Community in Rome

On Special Feast of «Lord of Miracles»

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II gave special greetings to Latin Americans living in Rome on the celebration of the feast of the «Lord of Miracles.»

Four thousand faithful from the Latin American Center «Between Ourselves» and the Confraternity of the «Lord of Miracles» of Rome gathered in St. Peter’s Square at midday to hear the Holy Father. They committed themselves to pray this year especially for his health.

The pilgrims were carrying images of the «Lord of Miracles,» the original of which was made in the 17th century by African slaves from Angola. In 1655, the area where the faithful honored the crucified Christ was ruptured by an earthquake, but the image remained intact.

Since then, miraculous powers were attributed to the image and the feast is now one of the most important in the country.

Before bidding the pilgrims farewell, John Paul II said in Spanish: «I greet the Latin American faithful who have come today with the image of the ‘Lord of the Miracles’: my heartfelt blessing; I encourage you to always walk with Christ.»

After the blessing, the Latin American pilgrims went to St. Peter’s Basilica to attend a Mass presided over by Argentine Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia, librarian of the Holy Roman Church.

The Latin American Center «Between Ourselves» was started 15 years ago to offer spiritual and human assistance to Latin American immigrants in Rome, particularly Peruvians — who had the greatest numbers — as well as Chileans, Argentines, Colombians, Ecuadorians, and Salvadorians.

The Confraternity of the «Lord of Miracles» was started by the Center not long after. Since 1998, a procession has been held in the streets of Rome with that image of Christ, starting from the basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and ending at the basilica of St. Mary Major.

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