Pontiff's Prayer at Madonna della Quercia Shrine

“Keep Firm the Unity of Our Families”

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VITERBO, Italy, SEPT. 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the greeting Benedict XVI gave today to the cloistered nuns who gathered at the shrine of the Madonna della Quercia (the Madonna of the Oak) in Viterbo, and the text of a prayer he offered during his pastoral visit to that city.

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Dear Sisters!

It is truly a joy for me to meet you in this dear place of popular devotion. You, as contemplative nuns, have a mission to be torches in the Church who, in the silence of your monasteries, burn in prayer and love for God. I entrust my intentions to you, the intentions of the pastor of this diocese and the needs of those who live in this land. In this Year for Priests, I entrust to you above all priests, seminarians and vocations. With your prayerful silence be their support “at a distance” and exercise your spiritual maternity toward them, offering to the Lord the sacrifice of your life for their sanctification and for the good of souls. I thank you for your presence and bless you from my heart; carry also to your sisters, who were not able to come, the greeting and the benediction of the Pope. I ask you now to join with me in invoking the maternal protection of Mary for this diocesan community and the inhabitants of this land rich with religious and cultural traditions.

Holy Virgin, Madonna della Quercia

Patroness of the Diocese of Viterbo,

gathered in this sanctuary consecrated to you,

we address a suppliant and confident prayer to you:

watch over the successor of Peter and the Church entrusted to his care;

watch over this diocesan community and her pastors,

over Italy, over Europe and the other continents.

Queen of peace, obtain the gift of concord and peace

for the nations and for the whole of humanity.

Obedient Virgin, Mother of Christ,

Who, with your docile “yes” to the Angel’s announcement,

became the Mother of the Almighty,

help everyone of your children to ratify

the designs that the Heavenly Father has for everyone,

to cooperate in the universal plan of redemption,

that Christ accomplished dying on the cross.

Virgin of Nazareth, Queen of the Family,

Make our Christian families forges of evangelical life,

enriched by the gift of many vocations

to the priesthood and the consecrated life.

Keep firm the unity of our families,

which are today threatened from every side,

and make them hearths of serenity and concord,

where patient dialogue dissipates the difficulties and oppositions.

above all watch over those who are divided and in crisis,

Mother of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Immaculate Virgin, Mother of the Church,

Nourish the enthusiasm of the all the members

of our diocese: of the parishes and ecclesial groups,

of the associations and of the new forms of apostolic commitment

that the Lord awakens with his Holy Spirit;

make firm and decided the will of those

the Lord of the harvest continues to call

as workers in his vineyard, so that,

resisting every worldly enticement and snare,

they generously persevere in following the path that they have set out upon,

and, with your maternal succor, become the witnesses of Christ

drawn by the splendor of his Love, source of joy.

Clement Virgin, Mother of Humanity,

Turn your gaze upon the men and women of our time,

upon peoples and those who govern them, upon nations and continents;

console those who weep, who suffer, who struggle because of human injustice,

sustain those who waver under the weight of toil

and look to the future without hope;

encourage those who labor to build a better world

where justice triumphs and brotherhood reigns,

where egoism, hatred and violence cease.

May every form and manifestation of violence

Be defeated by the peaceful power of Christ!

Virgin of Listening, Star of Hope,

Mother of Mercy,

source through whom Jesus came into the world,

our life and our joy,

we thank you and we renew to you the offer of our life,

certain that you will never abandon us,

especially in the dark and difficult moments of existence.

Be with us always: now and at the hour of our death.

Amen!

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
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