VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2004 (Zenit.org).- At a time of “violence, terrorism and war,” John Paul II again consecrated the world to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
During today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope renewed the 1984 act of consecration of humanity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “responding to what Our Lady had requested at Fatima.”
The Holy Father previously had asked bishops worldwide to carry out the 1984 act of consecration to Mary in their respective dioceses. Sister Lucia, one of the visionaries of the Marian apparitions, confirmed later that the solemn and universal consecration corresponded to the Blessed Virgin’s wishes.
“Humanity was then going through difficult times, of great concern and uncertainty,” John Paul II recalled today. “Twenty years later, the world continues to be fearfully marked by hatred, violence, terrorism and war.”
“Among the numerous victims that the news records every day, there are so many defenseless people, stricken while carrying out their duty,” he added at the general audience, which he dedicated to reflect on this Thursday’s solemnity of the Annunciation.
“So much blood continues to be spilt in many regions of the world,” the Pope said. “The need is still urgent for people to open their hearts to a courageous effort of reciprocal understanding. The hope for justice and peace is ever greater in every part of the earth.”
“How can we respond to this thirst for hope and love other than by taking recourse to Christ through Mary?” he asked.
The Holy Father concluded with the prayer he raised on that historic day 20 years ago.
“Mother of Christ,” he said, “may the infinite salvific power of the Redemption be revealed once again in the history of the world: power of merciful Love! May it put a stop to evil! May it transform consciences! May the light of hope be revealed to all in your Immaculate Heart!”
In his address, the Pope mentioned other key moments of his pontificate.
He recalled Dec. 8, 1978, when he placed the Church and the world in Mary’s hands in the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Then, on June 4, 1979, during his first trip to Poland as Pope, “I renewed this entrustment in the Shrine of Jasna Gora.”