.- Thousands of Argentineans gathered on Dec. 8 to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the enthroning of an image of Mary Undoer of Knots, a special favorite of Pope Francis.
The Marian devotion has grown in Argentina after then-Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires – now Pope Francis – brought a copy of the image back from Germany some 30 years ago.
The original painting, created by Johann Melchior Georg Schmidttner in 1700, is kept in St. Peter's Church in Augsburg, Germany.
On Dec. 8, 1996, the parish of St. Joseph in the city of Agronomia, Argentina, received a copy of the painting by Betta de Berti.
Each year, thousands of pilgrims visit the church in Agronomia to venerate the image.
Archbishop Mario Poli of Buenos Aires celebrated Mass at the parish on Dec. 8 and reflected on the meaning of the prayer, “Mother, help us not to be indifferent to the suffering of our brothers and sisters.”
The celebration also included a procession through the streets of the city with a replica of the painting.
Catholics around the world have learned that Mary Undoer of Knots is the Pope's favorite Marian devotion.
An Ohio-based group has created a four foot-tall birthday card for the Holy Father featuring the image. More than 10,000 young people have signed the card, which will be sent to the Pope for his 77th birthday on Dec. 17.