By Devin Watkins
The 25th International Marian Mariological Congress runs online on 8-11 September, and is hosted by the Pontifical Academia Mariana Internationalis to promote devotion to the Blessed Mother.
The theme for the event is “Mary between Theologies and Cultures Today: Models, Communications, Perspectives.”
Pope Francis greeted participants in the Congress with a message on Wednesday, encouraging them not to forget the “silent cry” of those who are suffering due to the pandemic.
Mother of forgotten
The Pope noted that true joy which comes from the Lord always makes space in our hearts for those who are forgotten by society.
“Mary,” he said, “in the beauty of the evangelical path and service to the common good of humanity and the planet, always teaches us to listen to these voices, and she herself gives voice to the voiceless, to ‘give birth to a new world’.”
The Pope recalled the 60-plus years of service of the Pontifical Marian Academy in coordinating Marian studies across the world through Mariological conferences.
These events, he said, offer a witness to how Mariology acts as a platform for dialogue between cultures, one which is able to nourish fraternity and peace.
Woman of the times
Pope Francis then recalled that all theology, including Mariology, should have the courage to live faithfully along the frontier.
“And it is near the borders that the Mother of the Lord has a special presence,” he said. “She is the Mother of all, independent of ethnicity or nationality.”
In that role, the Virgin Mary can become a reference point for overcoming divisions and building bridges.
“Along the path of a culture of fraternity, the Spirit calls us to welcome anew the sign of consolation and sure hope which has the name, face, heart of Mary, who is woman, disciples, mother, and friend,” said the Pope.
He thus urged the Marian Academy to seek out the signs of the “times of Mary”, so that the entire Church might benefit from their studies.
Mary encapsulates the Word
The Blessed Virgin Mary, added the Pope, citing Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, is most at home in the Word of God, with her thoughts and those of God in perfect harmony.
“The mystery, which the figure of Mary encapsulates within herself,” concluded Pope Francis, “is the selfsame mystery of the Incarnate Word of God.”