.- The Holy Father marked the end of the month of May yesterday evening, participating in a traditional Marian procession. The procession, which wound its way from the Church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians - located near the apse of the Vatican Basilica â finished at the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens. Hundreds of people participated in the ceremony, which was presided over by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, vicar general for the Vatican City State.
Wednesday being the Feast of the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, the Holy Father spoke of the importance of Christ as the source of all Marian devotion. The Holy Father highlighted how in the Virgin Mary's visit "the hidden protagonist is Jesus. Mary carried Him in her womb as in a sacred tabernacle. ... Wherever Mary goes, there is Jesus."
"May true Marian devotion never obscure or diminish faith and love for Jesus Christ, our Savior, the only mediator between God and man. ... Let us, then, entrust ourselves to her with filial devotion,â the Holy Father said.
The Pope also recalled how this year the month of May was "characterized by the arrival of the image of the Virgin of Fatima in St. Peter's Square on the 25th anniversary of the assassination attempt against the beloved John Paul II, and also by my apostolic trip ... to Poland, where I was able to visit the places dear to my great predecessor."
At the Shrine of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, he said, "I understood how much our celestial Protectress accompanies her children's journey, and does not disregard supplications addressed to her with humility and faith. Once again, together with you, I wish to thank her for having accompanied me during my visit to the dear land of Poland. I also wish to express my gratitude to Mary for her support in my daily service to the Church. I know I can rely on her help in all situations, indeed I know that she, with maternal intuition, meets all her children's needs and intervenes effectively in their support."
The Pope concluded his address by asking the faithful to pray especially for the forthcoming vigil in St. Peter's Square on Saturday, June 3, when he will meet with new lay movements and communities "those promising groups that have blossomed in the Church following Vatican Council II."