Pope entrusts terror-stricken world to Virgin Mary
On the eve of today's Feast of the Annunciation, Pope John Paul has reconsecrated to Mary a world that he says is "frighteningly characterised by hatred".
He ended yesterday's Wednesday General Audience in St Peter's Square with the following desperate appeal:
"Oh Mother of Christ, may the infinite saving power of your son's Redemption shine forth once again throughout the world! May it put a stop to evil and change people's consciences! May your Immaculate Heart light the way to hope for all people!"
The Pope said the feast of the Annunciation, "allows us to contemplate the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, made man in Mary's womb." He added that Mary's "fiat" echoes the obedience of Jesus to the divine plan, "to which we must add our 'Yes.'"
He said that he has made consecrations to the Virgin Mary at three different times during his pontificate. On 8 December 1978 - just weeks after his election - he consecrated the Church and the world to the Immaculate Conception. In June 1979 he renewed that consecration during a visit to the shrine of the Black Madonna in Poland. Then on 25 March 1984, he made the consecration which, he said, fulfilled the terms of the Virgin's plea at Fatima.
He commented: "Twenty years have gone by since that day when, in spiritual union with all the bishops of the world, I entrusted all of mankind to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in response to Our Lady's plea in Fatima."
During the audience, the Holy Father also referred to yesterday's celebration of World Missionary Martyrs Day. It was revealed that in 2003, at least 35 priest, religious and lay missionaries lost their lives in the service of the faith.
Pope entrusts terrorist-stricken world to Virgin Mary (AsiaNews.it 24/3/04)
Pope recalls Fatima consecration (Catholic World News 24/3/04)
John Paul II General Audience 24 March 2004
Pope laments world terror (The Courier Mail 25/3/04)
Pope's new book bound to be another bestseller (Reuters 24/3/04)
Proclaim Christ to Dispel Poverty and Injustice, Says Pope (Zenit 23/3/04)
Feast of the Annunciation (Catholic Encyclopedia)
Lay leader says terrorists are not martyrs (CathNews 24/3/04)
25 Mar 2004