(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has blessed a statue of Our Lady of Aparecida in the Vatican gardens, and prayed that Brazil and its people may be entrusted to her care.
During the inauguration ceremony, the Pope said it will not be possible to return this year to Aparecida, where he visited in 2013 for World Youth Day in Rio, but at least he will have the Marian image close by.
He called for prayers to Our Lady for all the people of Brazil, especially the poor, the “discarded, the abandoned elderly, the children on the street.”
The Holy Father prayed for Mary to save these people “with social justice and the love for Christ.”
Pope Francis noted how the original statue of Our Lady of Aparecida had been discovered by poor workers. He prayed that, today, may it be “discovered by everyone, in a special way those who need work, education, those who are deprived of dignity.”
Present at the ceremony were Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the pontifical commission for Vatican City State and president of the governorate of Vatican City State.
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