25-Sep-2000 -- ZENIT News Agency 

POPE SAYS JUBILEE IS OCCASION TO REDISCOVER MARY Conclusion of International Congress Dedicated to Mother of Christ VATICAN CITY, (ZENIT.org).- On a day marking two Marian events, John Paul said, "The Jubilee of the Son is also the Jubilee of the Mother."

The events were the end of an international congress dedicated to Mary, and the Jubilee of Marian Shrines around the world.

During a Mass in St. Peter's Square, attended by 50,000 faithful, the Holy Father spoke about the love that Christ's followers, and not just Catholics, should have for Mary.

John Paul II cited a passage from St. Mark's Gospel in which Christ embraces a child and gives him as an example to his disciples. The Holy Father said it is a lesson given by the one who, although above all, did not hesitate to become "the least of all."

In this way, the Pope explained, one can understand better Mary's greatness, whose primacy is "rooted in humility," and whose privileged relation with the Holy Spirit "did not free her from the hardships of the human condition during her earthly life."

"Mary totally lived the daily reality of so many families of her time,"
he said. "She experienced poverty, pain, exile, misunderstanding. Her spiritual greatness does not 'distance' her from us: She traveled our road and has been in solidarity with us in the 'pilgrimage of faith.'"

The celebration of 2000 years of Christianity, therefore, is also dedicated to the Virgin, the Holy Father said. Hence, he added, the Jubilee is not just an opportunity to live with a stronger love for Christ, but also to experience "renewed Marian devotion."

The Bishop of Rome specified the fundamental principles that must guide this devotion for the Virgin that, at times, has been tainted by superstitions. Above all, he said, true devotion "must be well founded on Scripture and Tradition," and that the believer must find in the liturgy "a sure orientation for the most spontaneous manifestations of popular religiosity."

The Pope also said that devotion must not be based on words but "must be expressed by an effort to imitate Holy Mary on the road of personal improvement."

In order to overcome "every form of superstition and vain credulity,"
the Pope advised the faithful to accept "in the right way, in harmony with ecclesial discernment, the extraordinary manifestations that the Blessed Virgin often grants for the good of the people of God."

The Holy Father called for healthy prudence given the numerous Marian apparitions that are claimed today around the world. Yet, he added, Mary continues to communicate her message of love to people, at times in a surprising manner.

Finally, if love for the Virgin is real, "it must always be able to rise to the source of the greatness of Mary, in an incessant 'Magnificat' of praise to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

At the end of the Mass, before reciting the Angelus with the pilgrims, the Pope mentioned the places of Marian devotion that celebrated their Jubilee Sunday.

Along with Lourdes (France), Fatima (Portugal), Guadalupe (Mexico), Lujan (Argentina), Jasna Gora (Poland), he mentioned the lesser-known shrines, such as Lavang (Vietnam), Walsingham (England), Knock (Ireland), the Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C.), Our Lady of the Good Voyage (Philippines), Velankanni (India), Ostra Brama (Lithuania), Merced (Ecuador), Montserrat (Puerto Rico) and Our Lady of the Angels (Costa Rica).

John Paul II also announced that the Diocese of Le Puy-en-Velay in France will host the next international congress dedicated to the Mother of Christ.

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