This beautiful prayer was recited by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI at Ground Zero on his apostolic visit to New York on April 20, 2008.
We arrive as pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, and make our way through the first security checkpoint. Then another. Then another still. Swiss guards, resplendent in their livery, examine our invitation and direct us higher.
We reach the landing area where in less than an hour the Pope will speak. Papal ushers, or sediari, lead us to our seats. Mine is better than I’d dared hope. When the Holy Father arrives to address the faithful, I will be directly to his left, about 20 feet from him, with no one in between.
He was especially known for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and for being a great promoter of the Holy Rosary, so much so that he is called “The Pope of the Rosary.” Pope St. Pius V was given this title for two reasons: for penning an important papal document on the rosary and for establishing a rosary feast day, two important steps in solidifying this powerful tool of prayer for the universal Church.
Pope St. John Paul II was well known for having a deep and abiding love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. His devotion to her was evident in all that he did: his teaching, his prayer life, even his papal motto and coat of arms were dedicated to the Blessed Mother. When he was nearly fatally shot during his papacy he credited the intercession of the Virgin Mary, specifically Our Lady of Fatima, with the miraculous save of his life.
Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, a simple, uneducated, young Polish nun received a special call. On the night of Sunday, 22 February 1931, while she was in her cell, Jesus appeared to Sr. Faustina for the first time as the “King of Divine Mercy” wearing a white garment with red and pale rays emanating from his heart. For four years she recorded Jesus’ words, her visions, and her own thoughts and prayers in a personal diary.
Devotion to Mary Untier (or Undoer) of Knots was localized to Germany. It was commissioned for a home altar in honor of Our Lady’s intercession preventing the divorce of a 17th-century German couple. Jorge Bergoglio, while studying in Germany, discovered this 300-year-old painting of Mary and its story. He was struck by the image and the story behind it, and brought the devotion back to Argentina where it spread widely. Since he became Pope Francis, this favorite devotion of his is growing in popularity around the world.
What a gift it has been to have our Holy Father with us for three days, and there are still two more to go!
The effect Pope Francis has had on this country has been amazing. It is quite out of the ordinary for Catholics, so used to having their faith denigrated, to be publicly celebrated and lauded as it has been these last few days. I think the coined termed for this is “The Francis Effect.”
Below are the highlights of today, all images taken from USCCB live streaming.
The highlight of today was most clearly the Holy Father’s address to a Joint Session of Congress – the first time the Vicar of Christ has ever done so.
House Speaker John Boehner, a Catholic, invited Pope Francis to make an address to a joint session of U.S. Congress. While this Pope is not the first to be invited, he is the first to accept.
Se ve, se siente, el Papa está presente!
This is how hundreds of Latinos standing by the White House cheered Pope Francis, eager to see their spiritual leader and to take some pictures during his parade down the streets.
Washington D.C., New York, and Pennsylvania are home to thousands of Latinos in the U.S., and the opportunity to listen to Papa Francisco speak in his native language, Spanish, is the reason why Latinos are so exited about his visit and feel so connected with the Holy Father.
Honorable Members of Congress,
I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.