Marian Thoughts – 6 May – ‘May, the Month of Mary’ – Pope Francis and Mary
Mary, Pope Francis said, “shows us the way home.
She brings us to Jesus, who is the Gate of Mercy.”
Francis’s love affair with Our Lady is well documented and it began long before Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio was made a bishop – in 1990, the future pope gave up TV because of a promise he made to the Virgin of Carmel.
After he was appointed archbishop of Buenos Aires, in Argentina, he’d participate in a massive pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Lujan, patroness of his country.
Before and after every foreign trip today, he visits Rome’s Basilica of St Mary Major to venerate the famous icon of Our Lady known as Salus Populi Romani (protectress of the Roman people) and usually leaves a bouquet of flowers presented to him during the trip.
In early 2016, he made a politically-charged trip to Mexico, visiting Ciudad Juarez on the border with the United States to deliver a strong appeal in favour of immigrants. Yet before and during the trip, he said time and time again he would visit Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and everything else was decided after. “How could I not come?” Francis asked the Mexican bishops when he met with them. “Could the Successor of Peter, called from the far south of Latin America, deprive himself of seeing la Virgen Morenita?”
Francis has spoken about how his devotion to Mary helped him through his election to the papacy, about praying the Rosary three times a day and that he always makes a point of stopping and even presenting flowers at the feet of Our Lady when she’s in St Peter’s Square or, wherever, he celebrates Mass during his trips abroad.
In 2005, after the death of St John Paul II, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Beroglio wrote a piece for a special issue of the Italian magazine 30 Giorni, dedicated to the late pontiff. In it, the man who today leads the Church wrote about once praying the rosary with the Polish pope and the impact it had on him.
“I felt that this man, chosen to lead the Church, was following a path back to his Mother in the sky, a path set out from his childhood,” he wrote. “I understood the presence of Mary in the life of the pope, a witness he never ceased to give. From that moment, I recite the 15 mysteries of the Rosary every day.”