Vatican City, May 2, 2022 / 10:39 a.m. (CNA).
Throughout May, the Vatican will host two weekly occasions for prayer in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was announced on Monday.
On the four Saturdays in May, from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Cardinal Angelo Comastri will lead a candlelit Rosary procession around St. Peter’s Square.
A reproduction of the image of Mary under her title “Mater Ecclesiae”, which means “Mother of the Church”, will be present in the square during the rosary.
Comastri, who is the former archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, also led a live-streamed daily rosary during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide shutdowns.
A second Vatican initiative for the month of May will be a walking prayer service stopping in front of images of the Virgin Mary found in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The traveling prayer will take place on the four Wednesdays of May at 4:00 p.m. and will be followed by the celebration of the mass at 5:00 p.m.
Pope Francis has called on Catholics to pray the Rosary every day for peace.
The original Mater Ecclesiae image of the Virgin Mary and Child Jesus was painted on a column in the ancient St. Peter’s Basilica, built by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. It was later moved to the 16th century St. Peter’s Basilica, where it can still be seen above one of the side altars.
A mosaic of the Virgin Mary overlooking St. Peter’s Square was inspired by the original image in Mater Ecclesiae. The mosaic was installed after the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981.
Blessing the mosaic, John Paul II prayed “that all who come to this St. Peter’s Square will raise their gaze to you. [Mary]to direct, with sentiments of filial trust, their greetings and their prayers”.
In 2018, Pope Francis added the memorial of “Mary, Mother of the Church” to the liturgical calendar for Monday after Pentecost.
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