Lima (Fides Service) - About 12,000 people in Lima paid homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 150th anniversary of the definition of the dogma on her Immaculate Conception. We mention only a few of many initiatives organised by the archdiocese of Lima as part of the great evangelising mission “Remar Mar Adentro”. During Mass in Lima Cathedral Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, Archbishop of Lima and Primate of Peru, in front of the image of Mary Star of Evangelisation consecrated the city of Lima to Our Lady of Peru. The Cardinal encouraged Catholics to “undertake a crusade of purity to announce to young people the purity of love so it may no longer ne considered an object of pleasure and commerce and regain all its beauty, joy and innocence”. For the occasion about 100 young people aged 17 to 25 promised to live purity as a state of life. More than 200 women religious renewed their vows.
Crowds flocked for the Marian Vigil at Lima’s Monterrico sports ground. The ceremony opened with the recitation of the Rosary and continued until midnight followed by a magnificent firework display over the city to celebrate Immaculate Mary. The Vigil was animated by known singers. Participants watched a video on the development of the dogma followed by a theatre piece. The image of Our Lady was carried into the sports ground shortly before midnight welcomed with singing and waving of blue and white scarves and showers of rose petals. Luis Fernando Figari, founder of the Sodalite Family which organised the event, asked Mary “to teach everyone how to say Yes to God to restore to our cities their true Catholic nature.” He encouraged those present to live an “authentic Christian life, reflected in the building of a society more just, fraternal and reconciled”.
On December 8, during a solemn Mass presided Cardinal Cipriani, concelebrated with Archbishop Rino Passigato, papal nuncio in Peru and the auxiliary Bishops of Lima, more than 1.300 from the capital’s 113 parishes made their First Holy Communion.
Celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception will close with an international Congress on the theme “The Immaculate Conception, a truth for the Third Millennium ” 10-12 December at the College San Agustino in Lima. The opening ceremony will be presided by Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani and Archbishop Rino Passigato. Father Juan Luis Basteros, professor at Navarra University in Spain will give the first conference on the theme “The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception”. On Saturday 11 December there will be 7 conferences on different aspects of the truth of faith of the dogma, popular Marian devotion in Peru, the Figure of Mary as model of charity and service, the Family, consecrated life and priestly life. On Sunday 12 there will be a reflection on the Figure of Immaculate Mary and her relationship with the Eucharist followed by the last conference on the Rosary. (R.Z.) (Agenzia Fides 10/12/2004, righe 40, parole 565)