Our Lady of the Rosary, BAV Vat. lat. 3770, f. 200r

Pope to Archdiocese of Rosario: 'Be missionaries of peace'

Pope Francis sends a video message to the Archdiocese of Rosario, in Argentina, as the faithful there celebrate a special Marian Year to mark the 250th anniversary since the arrival of the image of the Virgin of the Rosary, the diocese's Patroness.

By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis has encouraged the faithful of the Archdiocese of Rosario, in Argentina, to be “instruments of peace” with Mary, “bringing Christ, who is our peace, to hearts, to families, to all of society”.

The Pope's words came in video message sent on Thursday (local time) to the Archdiocese on the occasion of the celebration of its Marian Year, marking the 250th anniversary since the arrival there of the image of the Mary of the Rosary from Cadiz, in Spain, which has given the name to the city.

The Virgin of the Rosary 

The devotion to the Virgin of the Rosary goes back to the 13th century and was revived by Pope St. Pius V after the milestone victory of the Holy League over the Ottomans in the Battle of Lepanto, on 7 October 1571. Since then the date has become her feast day.

In his message the Pope notes that the year-long celebration running from 7 October 2022 is a “grateful remembrance, to strengthen our Christian roots, to live the present in an impassioned way and to look to the future with hope”.

Being missionaries for peace with Mary

Drawing from the Years’ motto “With Mary of the Rosary, let us be missionaries for peace”, Pope Francis calls attention to the importance of “living in peace with oneself, in the family, in the neighbourhood, and in society”.

However, he notes, the local backdrop is that of urban violence and insecurity, often linked to drug trafficking, which in Rosario alone has killed 240 people in 2022, many of whom, he says, were innocent people, including children and elderly people.

Placing families under the protection of the Virgin 

In the face of this situation, Pope Francis urges the archdiocese to place families under the protection of Mary, “especially those who suffer poverty, destitution, lack of employment, those who suffer from addiction”.

He also invites the local ecclesial community to work “for a vocational culture”, placing vocations to marriage, consecrated life, and to the priesthood under the care of the Mother of God. 

Finally, the Pope encourages the Archdiocese to take the opportunity of this special year to “reevaluate the gift” of Rosario’s Marian Shrine.

“Let us invite all the parishes, schools and institutions to go on a pilgrimage to the Shrine in search of grace, where one experiences the love of the Mother, the closeness of Christ and the mercy of the Father, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the indulgences the Church offers.”

The Church reaches out to everyone

In conclusion, Pope Francis invokes the Virgin of the Rosary to accompany the Archdiocese during this Marian Year, a year in which, he says, “the Church reaches out to everyone”, with “an open heart” and “a missionary face”.

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09 December 2022, 00:30