Mary Leads Us to Hope, Says Cardinal Martino

Vatican Official Speaks at Fatima on Anniversary of Apparitions

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FATIMA, Portugal, MAY 19, 2004 ( Amid today’s «spiritual and cultural crisis,» the Virgin Mary is the way «that leads us to the source of hope, that is God himself,» says Cardinal Renato Martino.

The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace expressed the Fatima «message of conversion and hope» in a homily he delivered during a Mass on the anniversary of the Blessed Virgin’s apparitions last Thursday.

The first apparition of the Blessed Virgin, to three little shepherds Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta, took place on May 13, 1917, in Cova de Iria. On May 13, 2000, during his pilgrimage to Fatima, John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta.

Cardinal Martino said that «many times we find that we are without hope, … weighed down by events» and «poor by our inability to give them meaning.»

«We have no alternative other than to turn to God, converting our hearts. We have abandoned him, but God has always been present, and he waits for us with patience and love,» the cardinal said.

In the «supreme moment of the passion,» from the cross, Jesus made his Mother, Mary, the Mother of all who believe in him, the Vatican official continued.

«Jesus’ last act before dying was to found a community of love in the persons of his Mother and the beloved disciple,» so that «from the cross, the community, the Church, was born,» he explained.

In «that ecclesial birth we find Mary, the Mother,» and in her presence at the moment the People of God emerged, «we find the imprint, theological and spiritual, of her being perennially, yesterday as today, our hope, the hope of the Church, the hope of the world,» Cardinal Martino said.

In «a world that has lost the values of love, … that rejects human life to the point of destroying it before it sees the light» of day, «we turn to the Virgin of Fatima, so that she will educate our hearts in hope and our hands in gestures of charity,» he exhorted in his homily.

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