Pope Meditates on Mary's Example

CASTEL GANDOLFO, AUG 15 (ZENIT).- John Paul II celebrated the Feast of
Mary's Assumption like any other parish priest. Early this morning,
parishioners of St. Thomas of Villanova, arrived for the Mass that would be
celebrated by their Bishop in the courtyard of the apostolic residence. The
Holy Father is spending the rest of the summer in Castelgandolfo, where
this parish is located, some 30 kilometers south of Rome.

In order to avoid the summer heat, the Mass began at 8 a.m. The thousands of
faithful who gathered, all dressed in their Sunday best, are accustomed to
seeing the Pope. For more than 20 years, he has been a resident of the area
during the time of year when he has less work. All participated in the
Eucharistic celebration with the Holy Father, as though it was their first

Jubilee's Spirit
During the homily the Pope offered a most original vision of the Great
Jubilee of the Year 2000 -- the most important goal of his pontificate. On
Mary's feast, celebrated by billions of Catholics throughout the world, the Pope
wished to focus attention on the meaning of the Holy Year. "The Virgin of
the Magnificat helps us understand the value and meaning of the Great
Jubilee, which is imminent. A propitious time during which the universal
Church will join in her prophetic canticle to praise the wondrous work of
the Incarnation."

Therefore, the Jubilee will not be an impressive spectacle, or the
exaltation of religion as a social triumph. "The spirit of the Magnificat is
the spirit of the Jubilee: in the prophetic canticle, Mary expresses the joy
that overflows her heart, because God, her Savior, has looked upon the
lowliness of his handmaid," the Holy Father said.

Jubilee of the Last
"Mary points the road to God, the way to Heaven, the way of Life. She shows
it to her children baptized in Christ and to all men of good will. She opens
it especially to the little ones and the poor, the favorites of Divine
Mercy. To both individuals and nations, the Queen of the world reveals the
power of God's love, whose plans confound the proud, dethrone the powerful
and exalt the humble; He gives food to the hungry and send the rich away
empty," John Paul II said, quoting the Magnificat.

"May this also be the spirit of the Church and of every Christian. Let us
pray that the Great Jubilee will be a total Magnificat, which will join
earth and Heaven in a canticle of praise and thanksgiving."

At noon, before reciting the "Angelus," the beautiful Marian prayer, the
Pope expressed the wish that all Christians, who are enjoying these days of
rest and less work, will discover a new dimension for their lives. "Freedom
from the occupation of work enables one to spend more time on the interior
life and contemplation of eternal realities. In many tourist locations,
there are lovely shrines and welcoming places of devotion to Mary. Taking
advantage of these days of rest, why not visit these and stop to pray,
possibly as a family? Meeting Mary, in these oases of the spirit, will be a
consolation and encouragement for a more serene life and ever more faithful
witness to the Gospel," the Holy Father concluded.

Presents of God ministry