Marian Shrines Have Much Life, Says Cardinal

Stresses Mary’s Intercession for Pilgrims

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BARCELONA, Spain, SEPT. 9, 2010 ( The archbishop of Barcelona is urging the faithful to rediscover the meaning of Marian shrines, which have an abundance of life.

Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach stated that Marian shrines «are not only a vestige of the past.»

«They have much life,» he said. «People go there because they feel it as their own spiritual reality, as it was for their ancestors.»
The prelate affirmed that at Marian shrines «the Virgin Mary is attentive to the requests of pilgrims; she receives them and intercedes effectively for them.»
«These shrines, as a presence of the Church, contribute to evangelization,» he said, observing that these places are «also visited by persons who are non-believers and very far from the Church.»
Because of this, the cardinal added, «in shrines everything that can help people to be more aware of the religious and evangelical motivation of the visits should be intensified.»

«Mary places herself between her Son and persons in the reality of their privations, indigence and suffering,» he said. «She places herself in their midst, that is, she acts as mediatrix.»
Cardinal Sistach continued: «As at the Wedding in Cana, Mary in one way or another says to all pilgrims and visitors: ‘Do whatever he tells you.'»
«Mary leads us to Jesus and brings us close to him,» the prelate affirmed.

He noted that «because of this, it is necessary to rediscover the human and Christian meaning of the Marian shrines of our earth to be able to visit them, seeking a moment of silence, reflection and prayer, all of which the man of today does not find easily in the rhythm full of stress of the life he leads.»
In this context, the cardinal said, Mary’s birth, which the Church celebrates on Sept. 8, «is situated at the beginning of a fuller presence of God in the human journey.»
He explained: «Mary’s birth already announces to us the Savior’s birth, the joy of Christmas.

«The Mother’s birth already announces — as dawn announces the day — the birth of the Son.»
Cardinal Sistach noted that «Mary’s heart and loving look, the heart and loving look that received the Son of God in this world, is turned also to us.»

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