Pope Calls on Faithful to Follow the Example of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Celebrates Feast of the Assumption in Castel Gandolfo

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 16, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the Mass of the Assumption at the parish church of St. Thomas of Villanova in Castel Gandolfo on Wednesday morning. The pontiff said the solemnity is "an invitation to praise God and to look to Our Lady’s greatness since we know who God is by gazing about the faces of those who are his."

Entrusting the faithful to the blessed Mother, the Holy Father asked her intercession so that all may live their lives with hope. "A Christian hope, that is not only a nostalgia for heaven, but a living and active desire of God here in the world, desire of God that makes us pilgrims who are unwearied, nourishing in courage in us and the power of faith, which at the same time is the courage and power of love," he said.

Later in the day, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo at noon on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Prior to the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father explained that Mary’s assumption, body and soul, into heaven at the end of the course of her earthly life is something that Christians throughout the world have always believed, confessed and celebrated. Recalling the words of the Magnificat, the Pope said that Mary placed herself among the "poor and the lowly" who put their trust in God and not in their own strength.

"If the Assumption opens us up to the bright future that awaits us, it also powerfully invites us to entrust ourselves to God, to follow his Word, to seek and do his will every day: this is the path that makes us 'blessed' on our earthly pilgrimage and opens the gates of heaven to us," he said.

After the Marian prayer, the 85 year old pontiff greeted pilgrims in many languages, among them, the english speaking faithful. "I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer, including the groups from Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady. May the example and prayers of Mary, Queen of Heaven, inspire and sustain us on our pilgrimage of faith, that we may rejoice with her in the glory of the resurrection and the fulfillment of her Son’s promises. Upon you and your families I invoke the Lord’s abundant blessings!," he said.