Pope Benedict XVI held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday. Marian devotion was the theme of his remarks, on the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin.
“Dear friends,” said Pope Benedict in Italian-language remarks to pilgrims and tourists gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, “Devotion to Our Lady is an important part of spiritual life,” adding an appeal to the faithful, that they not not fail to turn confidently to Mary in prayer, saying, “She will not fail to intercede for us with her Son.”
The Pope went on to recommend that all the faithful imitate Mary’s faith and her openness to the fullness of God’s loving design. “Mary,” said Pope Benedict, “is the Queen of Heaven – close to God – and also close to each of us, a mother who loves us and listens to our voice.”
It was a theme to which the Holy Father returned during his English-language remarks:
I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, especially the groups from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Japan and the United States of America. I also greet the young altar servers from Malta and their families. Today the Church celebrates the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May the prayers of Our Lady guide us along our pilgrimage of faith, that we may share in her Son’s victory and reign with him in his eternal Kingdom. Upon all of you I invoke the Lord’s abundant blessings!
The Holy Father also had especial greetings for the visiting Chaldean Sisters of Mary Immaculate, whose work on behalf of people in their native Iraq he praised. The Pope is in Castel Gandolfo for the Summer months, and is keeping a reduced schedule of appointments – though he is scheduled to travel to Lebanon from September 14th to September 16th.