Oaxaca (Agenzia Fides) - “We are convinced that love for the Blessed Virgin Mary is a pillar of sound evangelisation, it increases vocations and provides a safe path to fidelity to vocations received”. This statement was part of a Pastoral Letter issued by Archbishop José Luis Chávez Botello of Antequera-Oaxaca, in which he asks the faithful to give new impulse to devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in 2008 in preparation for celebrations on 18 January 2009 to mark the centenary of the Papal Act of Crowning of Nuestra Senora of Soledad.
Archbishop Chávez Botello writes “if we promote and strengthen real devotion to Mary, we multiply opportunities for faith and experience of God”. Our Lady teaches is to say “yes to God, assuming with responsibility the mission entrusted to us”. “Evangelisation without Mary cannot be authentic”, the Bishop recalls; “those who separate the Blessed Virgin Mary from Christ mutilate and empty the Gospel message”.
Among concrete ways of increasing devotion to Mary, Archbishop Chávez Botello proposes: a pilgrimage of the holy images of Nuestra Senora de Soledad and Immaculate Mary of Juquila to parishes throughout the archdiocese, spending about four days in each parish and the possibility to visit other communities. The holy images will leave the cathedral on Sunday 30 March after the 12 noon Mass and return on 30 November. Both the sending and the return of the pilgrim images will take place in the context of a solemn Mass presided by the Archbishop.
Other suggested initiatives include frequent recitation of the Rosary, the midday Angelus, the singing of the Salve Regina on Saturday; the promotion of the enthronement in homes of images of Mary most loved by the family with catechesis on the significance of the enthronement and consequent duties: Rosary prayer in the family, as a family taking part in weekly catechesis and Sunday Mass. The Archbishop concludes “I urge Catholics in the archdiocese, our young people especially to diffuse with the intercession of Mary, Christian life in all homes and communities”. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 21/1/2008; righe 27, parole 363)