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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

POPE TO BLESS VIRGIN OF MONTE MARIO, VISIT DOMINICAN NUNS

VATICAN CITY, 19 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today announced that at 10.30 a.m. on 24 June Benedict XVI will visit the Don Orione Centre located in Rome's Monte Mario district to bless a statue of the Virgin "Salus populi romani". The statue, which looks out over the city, has recently been restored and replaced on its tower.

  The great statue of Our Lady, nine metres high and made of gilded copper, fell from its nineteen-metre pedestal in a storm and high winds on 12 October last year.

  The fall of the statue elicited a great swell of affection and devotion on the part of the authorities and people of the capital, who requested to see it back in place as soon as possible.

  Benedict XVI himself, in a message sent to the superior general of the Orionine Fathers, had expressed the hope "that the statue be replaced as soon as possible for the devotion of all Romans".

  The Holy Father's brief pilgrimage, and his blessing of the restored statue of the Virgin, has great religious and civil significance for the whole city, because the statue is a memory of historical events inscribed in the poplar imagination.

  Benedict XVI's visit to Monte Mario also coincides with the 'Feast of the Pope' which the Orione Family promotes all over the world, following a tradition begun by St. Luigi Orione.

  The Holy Father will then go on to visit the Dominican convent of Santa Maria del Rosario in Monte Mario, where he will meet the cloistered nuns. The convent contains the seventh-century icon of the Virgin "Hagiosoritissa", known as Our Lady of St. Luke, as well as precious relics of St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena and other Dominican saints.

  The Pope is expected to return to the Vatican at about midday.
OP/                                    VIS 20100519 (320)

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