VATICAN - “THE WHITE CLAD PILGRIM RETURNS TO POMPEI”: A REFLECTION ON THE POPE’S MARIAN PILGRIMAGE

Wednesday, 8 October 2003

Vatican City (Fides Service) – The Pope returned to launch once again his call for peace through the primary path of God’s mercy, forgiveness received and offered, assured to us by Christ the Redeemer. He did it with simplicity, with the people: through the Heart of a Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, yesterday on her Feast of the Rosary.
The Pope’s return had been long awaited, not only by Catholics but by all, and there are many, who do not share the same faith, but nevertheless recognise in the white clad figure of the Holy Father, the white conscience of humanity who is not silent, who speaks and speaks to remind humanity not only of its rights but first of all of the rights of mankind’s Lord and Creator.
This white conscience of the world and of history yesterday spoke to us from Pompei, a place which is, as the white Father of all said “a crossroads of people of every culture attracted to the Shrine and to the archaeological site. It evokes also commitment of Christians, in collaboration with all men and women of good will to be builders and witnesses of peace”.
How much peace and serenity has poured forth from this Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Pompei, on people who flock here from all over the earth! And yesterday the white clad Pilgrim came again to invoke peace through the recitation of the Rosary and the Supplication to the Madonna of Pompei. This religious event culminated with a request to Jesus and Mary for “mercy” precisely for this era which has such dire need of mercy!
As Catholics we feel privileged and moved to be able to follow with affection of heart and adhesion of will the words of the Supreme Shepherd, whom Christ chose to be his vicar on earth and whose love renders him, despite all human fragility, the Rock for ever.
To this Rock, to Pope John Paul II, look Catholics and non Catholics; they cluster round him as if to sustain and support him, while he is the one who offers sustain and support to all of us!
So the images of yesterday remain impressed on our memory, his way of holding the rosary as if it were precious relic, that “sweet chin which ties us to God” as Bartolo Longo the founder of the Shrine of Pompei loved to say.
Thank you Holy Father for the whiteness of your conscience as you remind us all, each and everyone of us, that we belong to Christ and to his Mother! LA (Fides Service 8/10/2003 EM lines 27 Words: 421)


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