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Friday, December 17, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday evening at the Palazzo of San Pio X, the Pontifical Academies held their fifteenth public session on the theme: "The Assumption of Mary, a sign of consolation and of sure hope".

  During the session Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. read out a Message sent by the Pope to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Co-ordinating Council of the Pontifical Academies, and to participants.

  "The fifteenth public session", the Pope writes, "was organised by the Pontifical International Marian Academy and the Pontifical Academy of Mary Immaculate which, most opportunely, wanted this solemn meeting to recall the sixtieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Dogma of the Assumption".

  Benedict XVI recalls how "Vatican Council II, in its Dogmatic Constitution 'Lumen gentium', teaches that Mary is a sign of sure hope and consolation for the People of God on their pilgrimage through history".

  "The Fathers and Doctors of the Church, echoing the shared feeling of the faithful and reflecting upon what the liturgy celebrates, proclaimed Mary's singular privilege and illustrated her shining beauty, which supports and nourishes our hope", the Pope writes.

  "Theological and spiritual reflections", he goes on, "the liturgy, Marian devotion, and artistic representations are really all part of the same thing, a complete and effective message capable of arousing wonder in our eyes, of touching our heart, of stimulating our mind to an even deeper understanding of the mystery of Mary, in whom we see our own destiny and hope clearly reflected and announced".

  In this context, the holy Father invites the scholars "to follow the 'via pulchritudinis'", expressing the hope that, "even in our own day, thanks to greater collaboration between theologians, liturgists and artists, more incisive and effective messages may be presented for people's contemplation and admiration".

  Accepting a suggestion made by the Co-ordinating Council of the Pontifical Academies, Benedict XVI also announces that his year he is assigning the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academies Prize to the Marian Academy of India, represented by its president Fr. Kulandaisamy Raya, and to Luis Alberto Esteves dos Santos Casimiro, for his doctoral dissertation on the Annunciation in sixteenth century Portuguese painting.

  The Holy Father concludes by saying: "Furthermore, as a sign of appreciation and encouragement, I wish to present the pontifical medal to the 'Gen Verde' Group, part of the 'Focolari' Movement, for its artistic undertakings so strongly impregnated with Gospel values and open to dialogue between peoples and cultures".
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