VATICAN CITY, MAY 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today before the singing of the Regina Caeli at midday with the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. With this Sunday — the sixth of Eastertide — begins the last week of the month of May, which will end next Saturday, with the feast of Mary’s Visitation to St. Elizabeth.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the month of May is marked by the full flowering of nature; it is also the time of the paschal “alleluia,” which resounds throughout the Church, a time all the more propitious to offer the new generations the gifts of the risen Christ: baptism, first Communion and confirmation.
Next Thursday, moreover, with the feast of the Ascension of Christ to Heaven, the novena of Pentecost will begin, and the Christian communities will be able to relive the original experience of the Cenacle, where the disciples were devotedly and harmoniously in prayer with the Mother of Jesus (see Acts 1:14).
2. Mary’s maternal presence among the Apostles was for them a memory of Christ: Her eyes bore the impress of the Savior’s face; her immaculate heart kept the mysteries, from the annunciation to the resurrection and the ascension to heaven, through the public life, the passion and death.
In this sense, it can be said that the prayer of the rosary was born in the Cenacle, because there the first Christians began to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ, recalling the different moments of his earthly life.
May the rosary be ever more rediscovered and valued as a Christological and contemplative prayer.
3. I wished to indicate two special intentions of prayer for this year, dedicated precisely to the holy rosary: the family, unfortunately seriously menaced in its fundamental principles and values, and peace in the world, with special reference to the Holy Land. The Lord willing, despite the fierce violence that continues to rage and that offends God and man, may the search for just, negotiated solutions be reinforced to ensure serenity and peace for all peoples.
To Mary, whom yesterday we celebrated as “Help,” we now turn with the singing of the Regina Caeli.
[Translation by ZENIT]
[After the Regina Caeli, the Pope said the following in English:]
I am pleased to greet the students from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. May your studies and your lives always be directed to the praise and glory of God.
Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors I invoke the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.