9-May-2010 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Invites All to Accompany Him to Portugal Reflects on May as Month Dedicated to Mary

VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is inviting all the faithful to accompany him on his pilgrimage later this month to Portugal. The Pope said this today before praying the Regina Caeli together with those gathered in St. Peter's Square, and ahead of his May 11-14 trip.

"The principal objective of my trip will be Fatima, on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the beatification of the two little shepherds, Jacinta and Francisco," he said. "For the first time as Successor of Peter I will go to that Marian shrine, so dear to the Venerable John Paul II. I invite everyone to accompany me on this pilgrimage."

The Holy Father recalled that it is a tradition in the Church to dedicate the month of May to Mary, a tradition he said is "in tune" with the season of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and as well with the liturgical seasons of Easter and Pentecost.

Mary, he said, is "the most beautiful flower to blossom in creation, the 'rose' that appeared in the fullness of time, when God, sending his Son, gave the world a new spring."

"And she is at the same time humble and discreet protagonist of the first steps of the Christian community," Benedict XVI added. "Mary is its spiritual heart, because her very presence in the midst of the disciples is a living memory of the Lord Jesus and pledge of the gift of his Spirit."

For Christians, the Pope continued, Mary is "the first and perfect disciple of Jesus. Mary in fact observed first and fully the word of her Son, thus demonstrating that she loved him not only as his mother, but first still as humble and obedient handmaid."

"Because of this God the Father loved her and the Most Holy Trinity made its dwelling in her," he added.

The Pontiff recalled today's Gospel passage in which Christ talks of the Holy Spirit and asked, "How can we not think of Mary, who in her heart, temple of the Spirit, meditated and interpreted faithfully everything that her Son said and did?

"In this way, already before and above all after Easter, the Mother of Jesus became also the Mother and model of the Church."

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