By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Let’s ask God, through Mary’s intercession, for peace in the world, the end of the pandemic, a spirit of penance and our conversion…

On this Liturgical Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima, Pope Francis made this appeal toward the conclusion of his General Audience, this Wednesday, May 13th, 2020, in his papal library, in the midst of the pandemic of coronavirus worldwide, as he focused today’s catechesis on essential characteristics of prayer.

Recalling the Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, the Pope said: “We turn in thought to Her apparitions and to Her message transmitted to the world, as well as to the attack on Saint John Paul II, who in the sparing of his life, saw the maternal intervention of the Holy Virgin.”

Fatima has confirmed that this year there will be no faithful present at today’s festivities.

“In our prayer, let us ask God, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” Francis said, “for peace in the world, the end of the pandemic, a spirit of penance and our conversion.”

“Next Monday,” the Pontiff reminded, “will be the centenary of Saint John Paul II’s birth,” Pope Francis said, reminding I will celebrate Mass at 7:00 am in front of the altar of his tomb, and it will be broadcast worldwide for all.

“We thank God for giving us this Bishop of Rome, this Holy Bishop, and we ask him to help us: to help this Church of Rome to convert and go forward. I bless you from my heart.”

Greeting Italian-speaking faithful, Francis said: ‘On the anniversary of the first Apparition to the little visionaries of Fatima, I invite you to invoke the Virgin Mary so that She renders each one perseverant in love of God and neighbour.”

Offering a special thought to young people, the elderly, sick and newlyweds, Francis advised: “Take recourse constantly to Our Lady’s help.”

“In Her,” the Pope recalled, “we find a solicitous and tender Mother, safe refuge in adversities.”

When greeting Portuguese-speaking listeners, Francis said: “I encourage all to know and follow the example of the Virgin Mary.”

“In this context,” he continued, “let us try to live this month with more intense and faithful prayer, in particular, by reciting the Rosary, as the Church recommends, obeying a desire repeatedly expressed in Fatima by Our Lady.”

“You will see, under Her protection,” the Holy Father reminded, “that the sorrows and afflictions of life are more bearable.”

“I would like to come close in heart today to the Diocese of Fatima, to Our Lady’s Shrine,” he said.

Francis applauded those in Fatima, including the Cardinal Bishop, who go forward “all united with Our Lady, who accompanies us on this daily journey of conversion to Jesus.”

“May God bless you!” he said.

Italy has entered its ‘phase two’ on May 4th, resulting in some relaxing of restrictions. Public Masses will resume across the country on Monday, May 18, the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Karol Wojtyla.

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