On the Rosary, and an Upcoming Pilgrimage

"Mary Helps Us to Learn the Secret of Christian Joy"

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 7, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today when praying the midday Angelus with pilgrims gathered at the summer papal residence. The address was in Italian.



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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. Exactly in one month's time, on Oct. 7, God willing, I hope to go to the Shrine of Pompeii. It will be a particularly significant moment of the Year of the Rosary, inaugurated last Oct. 16 with the signing in St. Peter's Square of the apostolic letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae." I wish to initiate today a pilgrimage toward that famous Marian temple, center of the spirituality of the rosary, contemplating with Mary the face of Christ in his joyful, luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.

The liturgical feast of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin, which is celebrated tomorrow, Sept. 8, is particularly propitious to undertake this spiritual journey. Her birth, in fact, constitutes a sort of "prologue" to the Incarnation: Mary, as dawn, precedes the sun of the "new day," pre-announcing the joy of the Redeemer.

2. The joyful mysteries make us contemplate this joy "that radiates from the event of the Incarnation" ("Rosarium Virginis Mariae," 20); a joy that does not ignore the drama of the human condition, but springs from the awareness that "the Lord is at hand" (see Philippians 4:5), indeed, that "God is with us" (Matthew 1:23; see Isaiah 7:14).

"Rejoice!" The joyful invitation of the Angel sheds a ray of light on all five joyful mysteries. In them, "Mary helps us to learn the secret of Christian joy, reminding us that Christianity is above all 'euanghelion,' good news, which has its center, indeed its very content, in the person of Christ" ("Rosarium Virginis Mariae," 20).

3. May the Virgin Mary help the Christian people to rediscover the holy rosary as a simple prayer of great profundity. Well prayed, it introduces one to a living experience of the divine mystery and inspires in hearts, families, and the whole community that peace of which we are in such great need.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[After praying the Angelus, John Paul II greeted the pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I warmly welcome the English-speaking visitors present at this Angelus prayer. May Almighty God continue to bless all of you with peace and joy.