Image of Our Lady of Altagracia Image of Our Lady of Altagracia 

Pope to Dominicans: 'Do not be afraid to walk together united in fraternity'

Pope Francis sends a message to the people of the Dominican Republic, as they prepare to mark the Altagracian jubilee year, and urges each person to entrust themselves to the care of the Virgin Mary, kindling the flame of hope.

By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis on Saturday greeted, with affection, all "the brothers and sisters of the beloved Dominican Republic", as they prepare to celebrate the jubilee year of the canonical coronation of Our Lady of Altagracia, Mother and Protectress of Dominicans.

The Pope noted that "this Marian devotion so deeply felt by you is a sign of the Christian roots that characterise and give life to your land". It is for this reason, he said that he exhorts each Dominican "not to lose heart in your witness of faith, to care for and strengthen, through the example and intercession of the Virgin Mary, your love for Jesus and for the Church".

Closeness and tenderness

Pope Francis went on to explain that through the Virgin, God gives us a sign of His closeness and of the infinite tenderness with which He cares for us. "The loving gaze of the Mother contemplating the Child who sleeps confidently on her lap is an invitation for us to learn to see, through her eyes, Jesus present in our neighbours, and to remember that we are part of the same human family called to live together in fraternity and solidarity", stressed the Pope.

In this way, he continued, "the Virgin of Altagracia has been, for the Dominican, people a source of unity in difficult moments and a sure hand that supports them in the setbacks that arise in their daily lives". It is with her protection and shelter that she urges us to take care of and keep "burning the flame of hope that our elders bequeathed to us in faith, and to pass it on to others with humility, trusting in the grace of the Lord", sais the Pope. 

Walk together

Bringing his message to an end, Pope Francis urged his Dominican brothers and sisters not to be afraid to walk together, beyond divisions and mistrust, united in fraternity in the direction that Jesus indicates in the Gospel. "Do not hesitate to seek God's will in simplicity, for He is a Father of tenderness who embraces all and never abandons us", said the Pope, and "trust that His divine light transforms hearts and leads them to an encounter with him and with their brothers and sisters; and have faith that the power of the Holy Spirit impels you to carry out with joy and constancy works of love and goodness for those who need it most". 

Finally, he prayed "that Jesus bless you and Our Lady of Altagracia protect and accompany you"

16 July 2022, 12:02