May Marian devotions at Saint Peter's feature "Mater Ecclesiae"
By Vatican News staff writer
The office that administers the St. Peter's Basilica, the Fabbrica di San Pietro, has issued details on this month of May's devotions to the Blessed Virigin Mary that are being organized by the Vatican Vicariate and Basilica parish offices with weekly prayers, the recitation of the Rosary and Holy Mass.
On Wednesdays throughout May at 16.00 prayers will be offered, starting in the Basilica atrium and proceeding to various places inside where the primary works dedicated to the Virgin Mary are found. Prayers will conclude at 17.00 followed by the celebration of the Eucharist.
Then, on every Saturday evening in May, a candlelight procession will take place in St. Peter's Square from 21:00 to 22:00 with a reproduction of the image of Mary "Mater Ecclesiae" that will accompany the recitation of the Rosary led by Cardinal Angelo Comastri.
The "Mater Ecclesiae" image was painted on a column of the ancient Constantinian basilica pre-dating the current basilica on the same site. Pope Saint John Paul II in 1981 blessed a mosaic inspired by this painting, visible in St. Peter's Square on the Apostolic Palace, expressing his desire "that all those who will come to St. Peter's Square may raise their gaze to her, to direct to her their sentiments of filial trust, their greetings and their prayers."
The synodal path inaugurated a few months ago by Pope Francis identifies the "Mater Ecclesiae" as an inspiration for the Church that renews in the Spirit the enthusiasm and missionary drive of the Apostles, and as a help and example so that we may walk together following Christ, as Mary says to us in the Gospel "do whatever He tells you."