John Paul II Encourages Group in Marian Devotion

Sons and Daughters of the Cross Have an Audience

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 13, 2004 ( John Paul II invited the members of the Fraternity of the Sons and Daughters of the Cross to love the Virgin Mary as their «most gentle Mother.»

The members of the new Church entity had an audience today with the Pope. They were joined by Cardinal Andrzej Maria Deskur, 80, retired president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, a friend of Karol Wojtyla’s since seminary days in Poland.

Two days after his papal election, John Paul II left the Vatican to visit Bishop Deskur in a hospital. Three days earlier the bishop had suffered an attack of paralysis, which has left him in a wheelchair.

Cardinal Deskur has supported the Sons of the Cross, whose priestly fraternity has as its moderator Monsignor Giacomo Martinelli, a delegate of the Pontifical Academy of Mary Immaculate.

Addressing his guests, John Paul II reminded them that their spirituality is «permeated with devotion and love of the Virgin Mother of God.»

«Love the Virgin to whom you are totally consecrated and, like her, be faithful disciples of Christ,» he exhorted. «Serve the Church with enthusiasm, cultivating unity and full harmony with the pastors of Christian communities to which you offer your pastoral cooperation.

«In this way you will be effective witnesses of him who from the cross has entrusted us as children to his most gentle Mother.»

The Pope added: «May Mary Immaculate continue to guide your steps and make you ever more conformed to Jesus, whom we will contemplate in a few days as Child in the mystery of holy Christmas.»

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