John Paul II Urges Rosaries for Peace and Families

Assesses the Year Dedicated to Marian Devotion

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 29, 2003 (Zenit.org).- As the Year of the Rosary draws to a close, John Paul II invited the faithful again to pray the rosary for world peace and for the family.



The Pope made this appeal during today's general audience held, due to the rain, in St. Peter's Basilica as well as Paul VI Hall, to accommodate the 16,000 pilgrims present.

In his apostolic letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae" the Holy Father had called for the Year of the Rosary, with an eye toward his 25th anniversary as Pope.

"I am profoundly grateful to God for this time of grace, in which the whole ecclesial community has been able to reflect on the value and importance of the rosary, as a Christological and contemplative prayer," John Paul II said in his prepared address, a good part of which he himself delivered.

"Desirous of reflecting ever more the mystery of Christ, the Church enters the school of Mary to meditate on the mysteries of his Gospel," he said. "This is Mary's way, the path on which she carried out her exemplary pilgrimage of faith, as first disciple of the Incarnate Word."

"It is, at the same time, the way of an authentic Marian devotion, centered totally on the relation that exists between Christ and his most Holy Mother," the Pope said.

He reminded the faithful that this year he has commended to them "two great prayer intentions: peace and the family."

"The disconcerting attacks of September 11, 2001, and what has happened in the world since then, have increased tension at the global level," the Holy Father said.

"In face of these worrying situations, to recite the beads of the rosary is not to retreat into oneself, but a conscious choice of faith," he explained. "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 necessary strength to be builders of peace, beginning with daily life in the family," the Pope added.

John Paul II said his second prayer intention is the family, as the latter should be "the first realm in which the peace of Christ is received, cultivated and guarded."

"In our days, however, without prayer it becomes ever more difficult for the family to realize its vocation," he added. "The family that prays together stays together."