Castel Gandolfo (Fides Service) – “For the last few Sundays I have reflected on Europe and its Christian roots, looking at the text of the post synodal exhortation Ecclesia in Europe. This document ends with an ‘entrustment to Mary’ that the Holy Virgin may help Europe become a symphony of nations working to build together the civilisation of love and peace!”. With these words Pope John Paul II began his address on Sunday 31 August before the recitation of the Angelus prayer with the visitors gathered in the courtyard of the Papal Summer Residence at Castel Gandolfo.
Recalling the numerous Marian shrines with which the continent of Europe is studded, the Pope mentioned especially the shrine of Our Lady of Tears at Siracusa, Sicily, which this year marks the 50th anniversary of the miraculous event. “I stand in contemplation before the precious reliquary of Our Lady’s Tears…how mysterious are these tears! They speak of suffering and tenderness, of divine comfort and mercy. They are the sign of a maternal presence and a call for conversion of hearts to God, a turning away from the paths of evil to follow faithfully Jesus Christ”. The Pope concluded his address with a prayer: “To you sweet Mother of Tears we present the Church and the entire world. Look upon those most in need of forgiveness and reconciliation; bring harmony to families and peace among peoples. Dry the tears caused by hatred and violence in many regions of the Earth, particularly in the Middle East and the continent of Africa”. SL(Fides Service 1/9/2003 EM lines 20 Words: 307)