At the end of Sunday’s Mass, Pope Francis recited the Regina Caeli prayer with the tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square for the celebration.
In his remarks prior to the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father spoke about the “spiritual presence of the Virgin Mary, alive in our midst.” On a day dedicated to Confraternities and Popular Piety, he noted that love for Mary is one of the characteristics of popular piety that “must be strengthened and well-ordered.” He invited those present to reflect on “Mary the pilgrim, who follows Jesus the Son, and goes before all of us in the journey of faith.”
Pope Francis also had greetings for those Christians who, following the Julian calendar, are celebrating Easter on Sunday. “I wish to send to these brothers and sisters a special greeting,” he said, “uniting myself to them with all my heart in proclaiming the joyful news: Christ is risen!” He prayed especially for those celebrating Easter amongst “trials and sufferings,” praying that the Holy Spirit would give them “counsel and consolations” and guide them “in the ways of peace and reconciliation.”
The Pope also spoke about the beatification on Saturday of Francisca de Paula De Jesus, called “Nha Chica.” He said, “I unite myself to the joy of the Church in Brazil for this luminous disciple of the Lord.”
Pope Francis greeted all those present, especially members of the Confraternities, along with parish groups and families. He noted especially the “Meter” association on the occasion of the Day for Children who are Victims of Violence. He assured those who have suffered or who are suffering abuse of his prayers, and forcefully called on everyone to protect and defend all human persons, but especially children, who are among the most vulnerable.
In a final greeting, Pope Francis offered encouragement to those suffering from pulmonary hypertension and to their families.
Below is the complete text of Pope Francis’ remarks before Sunday’s Regina Caeli:
In this moment of profound communion in Christ, we feel the spiritual presence of the Virgin Mary alive in our midst – a maternal presence, a familiar presence, especially for you are take part in the Confraternities. The love for the Madonna is one of the characteristics of popular piety, which needs to be strengthened and well oriented. For this reason, I invite you to meditate on the last chapter of the Constitution of the Second Vatican Council on the Church, Lumen gentium, which speaks precisely of Mary in the mystery of Christ and of the Church. There it is said that Mary "advanced in her pilgrimage of faith" (n. 58). Dear friends, in the Year of Faith I leave you this icon of Mary the pilgrim, who follows Jesus the Son, and goes before all of us in the journey of faith.
Today the Eastern Churches that follow the Julian Calendar celebrate the feast of Easter. I wish to send to these brothers and sisters a special greeting, uniting myself to them with all my heart in proclaiming the joyful news: Christ is risen! Gathered in prayer around Mary, we ask God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, that He might counsel and comfort all Christians, especially those who celebrate Easter amongst trials and sufferings, and might guide them in the ways of reconciliation and peace.
Yesterday, in Brazil, Francisca de Paula De Jesus, called "Nha Chica," was beatified. Her simple life was totally dedicated to God and to charity – so much so that she was called “mother of the poor.” I unite myself to the joy of the Church in Brazil for this luminous disciple of the Lord.
I greet with affection all the Confraternities present, who came from so many countries. Thank you for your testimony of faith! And I greet also the parish groups and families, as well as the grand parade of marching bands and various associations of Schützen [riflemen] from Germany.
A special greeting goes today to the “METER” Association on the day for children who are victims of violence. And this gives me the opportunity to turn my thoughts to those who have suffered and are suffering because of abuse. I would like to assure them that are present in my prayers, but I would also say emphatically that we must all commit ourselves with clarity and courage to every human person, especially children, who are among the most vulnerable, that they might always be defended and protected.
I also encourage those with pulmonary hypertension and their families.