VATICAN CITY, JUNE 5, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Thousands of members of 30 Italian Marian associations gathered together for the first time in St. Peter’s Basilica for a prayer meeting.
On Saturday, 6,000 faithful venerated the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and meditated on the message the Blessed Virgin gave the three Portuguese shepherds in 1917.
The meeting opened with an address by Father Gabriele Amorth, exorcist of the Diocese of Rome, who underlined with examples that consecration to Mary is a means to belong more profoundly to Christ.
After Eucharistic adoration and the rosary, led by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, the vicar general for Vatican City State, a solemn Mass took place, presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope’s vicar for Rome. The Mass included the Act of Consecration to the Virgin.
“Devotion to the Virgin is expressed in faith, in Christian love, and in making our life a Eucharistic existence,” said Cardinal Ruini, reported Vatican Radio.
Before publicly praying the Angelus today with the crowds in St. Peter’s Square, Benedict XVI said that “undoubtedly, the heart that is most like Christ’s is the heart of Mary, his immaculate Mother, and precisely for this reason, the liturgy introduces her for our veneration.”
He added: “Responding to the invitation addressed by the Virgin of Fatima, let us commend to her Immaculate Heart, which we contemplated in a particular way yesterday, the whole world so that it will experience the merciful love of God and true peace.”