Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Regina Coeli with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Yesterday evening I returned from the pilgrimage to Fatima — we greeted Our Lady of Fatima! — and our Marian prayer today assumes a particular significance, charged with memory and prophecy for those who look at history with the eyes of faith. At Fatima I immersed myself in the prayer of the faithful holy People, prayer that has flowed there as a river for one hundred years, to implore Mary’s maternal protection over the whole world. I thank the Lord who granted me to go to the feet of the Virgin Mother as pilgrim of hope and peace. And from my heart I thank the Bishops, the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, the State Authorities, the President of the Republic and all those who offered their collaboration.
From the beginning, when I remained a long time in silence in the Chapel of the Apparitions, accompanied by the prayerful silence of all the pilgrims, an atmosphere of recollection and contemplation was created in which several moments of prayer were held. And at the center of everything was the Risen Lord, present in the midst of His People in the Word and in the Eucharist, present in the midst of so many sick, who are protagonists of the liturgical and pastoral life of Fatima, as of every Marian Shrine.
At Fatima the Virgin chose the innocent heart and the simplicity of little Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia, as recipients of her message. These youngsters received it worthily, so much so as to be recognized as reliable witnesses of the apparitions, and becoming models of Christian life. With the Canonization of Francisco and Jacinta, I wished to propose to the whole Church their example of adherence to Christ and evangelical testimony and I also wished to propose to the whole Church the care of children. Their holiness was not the consequence of the apparitions, but of the fidelity and ardor with which they corresponded to the privilege received of being able to see the Virgin Mary. After the meeting with the “beautiful Lady” — so they called her –, they recited the Rosary frequently, they did penance and offered sacrifices to obtain the end of the War and for the souls neediest of divine mercy.
And today also there is so much need of prayer and penance to implore the grace of conversion, to implore an end to the absurd great and small conflicts that disfigure the face of humanity.
Let us allow ourselves to be guided by the light that comes from Fatima. May the Immaculate Heart of Mary always be our refuge, our consolation and the way that leads us to Christ.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
After the Regina Coeli:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I entrust to Mary, Queen of Peace, the fate of populations afflicted by wars and conflicts, in particular in the Middle East. So many innocent people are harshly tried, whether Christian or Muslim, or belonging to a minority, such as the Yazidi who endure tragic violence and discrimination. I accompany my solidarity with my remembrance in prayer, while I thank all those committed to take care of their humanitarian needs. I encourage the various communities to follow the way of dialogue and of social friendship to build a future of respect, security and peace, far from every sort of war.
Proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Dublin was the Jesuit priest John Sullivan. Living in Ireland between the 19th and 20th centuries, he dedicated his life to the teaching and spiritual formation of young people, and he was greatly loved and sought after as a father of the poor and the suffering. We thank God for his testimony.
I greet all of you, faithful of Rome and pilgrims from Italy and from various countries, in particular, the faithful of Ivrea, Salerno, Valmontone and Rimini; the pupils of Potenza and of Mozzo (Bergamo). I greet the participants in the initiative called “Empty Strollers” and the group of mothers of Bordighera: the future of our societies requires on the part of all, especially of institutions, a concrete attention to life and to maternity. This appeal is particularly significant today, while Mother’s Day is being celebrated in many countries. Behold! We remember with gratitude and affection all mothers, also our mothers in Heaven, entrusting them to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. And now I propose something to you: let us remain some moments in silence, each one praying for his mother.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]