Pope Blesses Image of Our Lady for Chile

Shows Affection After Quake, Congratulations for Anniversary

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is offering Chileans an image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, as a sign of his affection after the Feb. 27 earthquake and in congratulations for the nation’s bicentennial, celebrated this year.

The Pope blessed the image today at the end of the general audience. It will be taken around Chile, beginning with the areas most affected by the earthquake.
The blessing of the image was described by the Pope himself, when greeting pilgrims in Spanish after today’s catechesis, «as a sign of affection to the sons of that country, which is celebrating its bicentenary.»
The Missionary Virgin «will accompany you in these moments of difficulty after the recent earthquake you suffered,» he said.
In the presence of thousands of pilgrims, Benedict XVI addressed a special greeting «to Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa and to the president of the episcopal conference of Chile, Bishop Alejandro Goic Karmelic, with the delegation that came to receive the image of the Virgin of Carmel.»
Together with the image of the Missionary Virgin, the Pope also blessed official copies of Chile’s Gospel, which will accompany Mary on her pilgrimage through the country. More than 9,000 Chileans took part in creating this handwritten copy of the New Testament.

Visitor from Rome

Next month, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, will travel to Chile to officially present the image of the Virgin to the Church and people of Chile in a concelebrated Mass with the bishops of thecountry.
The cardinal will arrive in Santiago in the early days of April, as an official guest of the government on the occasion of the bicentenary, reported Vatican Radio.

As well, this Friday, there will be a Mass in the Basilica of St. Mary Major for the victims and those affected by the quake, as well as for the spiritual and material reconstruction of Chile.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, will preside over the Eucharist, concelebrated with the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Cardinal Errázuriz and Bishop Goic, among others.

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