Vatican City (Fides Service) – Due to heavy rain in Rome this morning, Wednesday 29 October, the Holy Father held his audience in two parts, first he addressed thousands of visitors gathered inside St Peter’s and then he went to the Paul VI Hall to greet another nine thousand. His theme for catechesis was the Rosary prayer as the end of the Year of the Rosary approaches. “With the end of October also the Year of the Rosary comes to a close, the Pope said. I am deeply grateful to God for this time of grace in which the entire ecclesial community has grown in awareness of the value and importance of the Rosary, a Christological and contemplative prayer. <Contemplating with Mary the face of Jesus>. These words, recurrent in the apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, have become, so to say, the “motto” of the year of the Rosary. They are an authentic summary of the significance of this prayer both familiar and profound. At the same time they emphasise continuity between the proposals of the Rosary and the path indicated to the People of God in my previous Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio ineunte”.
At the beginning of the third millennium the Rosary is the “Marian path” towards a twofold objective: help Christians become “contemplators of the face of Christ” and ecclesial communities to become “authentic schools of prayer”, the Pope said recalling the two particular intentions of the Year of the Rosary: peace and the family. “Contemplating the face of Christ, our peace and our reconciliation, we wish to implore from God the gift of peace, through the intercession of Mary most holy. We ask her for the strength necessary to be builders of peace, beginning with daily life in the family…The family nucleus should be the fist place in which the peace of Christ is welcomed, nourished and protected. In our day however, without prayer it is ever more difficult for the family to realise this vocation”.
Lastly the Pope entrusted his intentions to Our Lady, “may she protect the family and obtain peace for individuals and the whole world” and he expressed the wish that “all Christians, with the Blessed Virgin, will take with determination the path of holiness, keeping their eyes fixed on Christ and meditating, with the Rosary, the mysteries of salvation. This will be the most precious fruit of this year dedicated to the Rosary prayer”. SL (Fides Service 29/10/2003 EM lines 28 Words: 389)