Cardinal Exhorts Power of Prayer

Leads Rosary to Mark St. Martha’s Feast

VATICAN CITY, JULY 30, 2008 ( Many neglect to pray because they are not convinced of its importance and effectiveness, the archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica said after leading the rosary on the feast of St. Martha.

Cardinal Angelo Comastri presided at the prayer event Tuesday in the Vatican Gardens, which has been an annual event in the Vatican since 1995.

The cardinal affirmed the need to believe in the power of prayer: “Often we are not convinced of the importance of prayer and that is why we easily neglect it. Above all, we live it with little depth. We must believe that with prayer we can make many people return to the Lord.”

Benedict XVI sent a telegram to encourage those present, many of whom work in the Vatican, “to serve Jesus in their brothers, through a generous commitment.”

The Benedictine nuns who live in the cloistered Mater Ecclesiae convent in the Vatican joined the participants at the end of the rosary through a Vatican Radio linkup.

“From our silence and our cloistered solitude,” Abbess Mother Maria Sofia Cicchetti said in a message, “we transmit to each and every one a word of Christian faith, hope and love.”

“And we ask the Virgin Mary, who is the Virgin of silence, of listening and of service to conform us ever more to her Son Jesus and in this way,” she continued. “We too, the ‘Marthas’ and ‘Marys,’ will be architects of love, peace and unity wherever the Lord places us, to serve the Church and our brothers, so we will be able to be instruments of peace also for the world, so thirsty for peace and unity.”

The torchlight procession, organized by the Association of Sts. Peter and Paul and by the Vatican Police, wound through the gardens and concluded with the singing of the “Salve Regina” before the image of the Blessed Virgin of Mercy.

This image was placed in the Vatican Gardens 11 years ago by decision of Pope John Paul II, who at the end of his encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” invokes Mary with the special title of Mother of Mercy.

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