On Mary's Intercession
"'Trust in me!' Mary Repeats This Again to Us Today"
GENOA, Italy, MAY 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the greeting Benedict XVI gave today before praying the Angelus in Piazza Matteotti during his pastoral visit to Genoa.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
At the heart of my pastoral visit to Genoa, we have arrived at the customary moment for the Sunday Angelus and my thoughts naturally return to the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Guardia, where I stopped to pray this morning. Many times Pope Benedict XV, your illustrious fellow citizen, went as a pilgrim to that mountain oasis, and in the Vatican Gardens he had a reproduction made of that dear image of the Madonna della Guardia. And just as my venerable predecessor, John Paul II did, in his first apostolic pilgrimage to Genoa, I too wanted to begin my pastoral visit by offering homage to the heavenly Mother of God, who from the height of Mount Figogna watches over the city and all its inhabitants.
Tradition tells of how the Madonna, in her first appearance to Benedetto Pareto -- who was worried about how he would go about building a church in that place so far from the city -- said: “Trust in me! You will not lack the means. With my help everything will be easy. Only be firm in your will.” “Trust in me!” Mary repeats this again to us today. An ancient prayer, very dear to popular tradition, has us address these words to her, that today we make our own: “Remember, O, most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided.”
It is with this certainty that we invoke the maternal assistance of the Madonna della Guardia for your diocesan community, your pastors, consecrated persons, faithful laypeople, young people, families, old people. We ask her especially to watch over the sick and the suffering, and to make fruitful the missionary initiatives that are under way to bring the proclamation of the Gospel to all. Together we entrust to Mary the whole city, with its diverse population, its cultural, social and economic activities, the problems and the challenges of our times, and the commitment of those who work together for the common good.
My gaze now turns to all of Liguria, spangled with churches and Marian shrines, placed like a crown between the sea and the mountains. With you I thank God for the robust and tenacious faith of past generations that, in the course of centuries, authored memorable passages of sanctity and human civilization. Liguria, and Genoa in particular, has always been a land open to the Mediterranean and the whole world: How many missionaries have set out from this port for the Americas and other distant lands! How many people have immigrated from here to other countries, poor perhaps in material resources, but rich in faith and human and spiritual values, which they transplanted in the places where they settled! Mary, Star of the Sea, continue to shine on Genoa! Mary, Star of Hope, continue to guide the journey of the Genovese, especially the new generations, that they find the right way in the often tempestuous sea of life!