By Robin Gomes
“The day after tomorrow, May 8, the feast of Our Lady of Lujan will be celebrated in Argentina,” Pope Francis said at Wednesday’s General Audience, reminding his Spanish-speaking listeners about the feast of the Patroness of his homeland. “May she, Mother of God and our Mother,” he said, “intercede for us and obtain for us from Her Son the necessary graces in this difficult time that the world is going through.”
The Shrine in Argentina
Pope Francis himself has made pilgrimages to the shrine of Our Lady of Lujan, not far from Buenos Aires. He recently wrote a letter to Archbishop Jorge Scheinig of Lujan expressing his wish to be a pilgrim at the sanctuary on May 8 along with all the people of God to be gazed upon by the Virgin Mary. “I will be with you spiritually, as a spiritual and 'virtual' pilgrim. I will look at Her once again and, once again, I will let myself be gazed upon by her,” he wrote.
The Shrine in Pompei
During Wednesday’s General Audience, Pope Francis also addressed Italian listeners, reminding them that the same day, May 8, an “intense prayer of “Petition to Our Lady of the Rosary” will be raised at the Shrine of Pompei. “I urge everyone to unite themselves spiritually to this popular act of faith and devotion, so that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, the Lord may grant mercy and peace to the Church and to the whole world.”
Twice each year, on May 8th and again on the first Sunday of October, solemn prayers of petition are offered at the Marian Shrine at Pompeii for the needs of the whole world.
Pope Francis visited the Marian Shrine of Pompei on March 21, 2015, becoming the 5th pontiff to do so.