.- During a Mass honoring Our Lady of Almudena, the patroness of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela emphasized the importance of devotion to Mary and called on believers to open a place for her in their homes and to look to her as the model for families and the example of âthe virtue of Christian strength.â
Before the more than 10,000 people gathered for Mass in Madridâs main square, the cardinal called on Catholics to enter into the âschool of Mary,â who is the âsupreme model of contemplation and the admirable example of a fruitful, joyful and enriching interior life.â
Cardinal Rouco also enjoined the faithful to look to the Blessed Mother for encouragement in defending âthe right and responsibilityâ of parents to âdetermine the moral and religious education that they wish their children to receive at school, in accord with their own convictions.â
The city of Madrid, he said, can only become a better place through âmutual and fraternal understandingâ and greater âsolidarityâ among its residents. The cardinalâs statements were echoed by Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon, who pronounced the traditional invocation of the city, praying that the Spanish capital would be âa land of hope, in which each citizen discover an opportunity to be useful to himself and to others.â
The mayor also prayed to Mary that Pope Benedict XVI would soon visit Madrid and renew the ties of his predecessor with the Spanish capital.