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Monday, June 1, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2009 (VIS) - At 8 p.m. today, the traditional procession marking the end of the month of May wound its way through the Vatican Gardens, from the Church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians to the Grotto of Lourdes.

Benedict XVI arrived at the Grotto at 9 p.m. where, before imparting his apostolic blessing, he made some brief remarks to the faithful present.

"The great Feast of Pentecost", he said, "is an invitation for us to meditate upon the bond between the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, a close, privileged and indissoluble relationship. The Virgin of Nazareth was chosen to become the Mother of the Redeemer by the action of the Holy Spirit: in her humility she found favour in the eyes of God".

The Annunciation, the Virgin's visit to her cousin Elisabeth, the birth of Jesus and His early infancy were all "guided, almost palpably, by the Holy Spirit, although He is not always mentioned. Mary's heart, in perfect harmony with her divine Son, is a temple of the Spirit of truth, where each word and each event is treasured in faith, hope and charity".

"Mary's faith", the Holy Father went on, "supported that of the disciples until their meeting with the risen Lord, and it continued to accompany them even after His ascension to heaven, as they awaited 'Baptism in the Holy Spirit'. At Pentecost, the Virgin Mother once again appears as the Bride of the Spirit", an expression of "universal maternity towards all people who have been generated by God through faith in Christ. This is why, for all generations, Mary is the image and model of the Church which, accompanied by the Spirit, advances through time invoking the glorious return of Christ: 'Come, Lord Jesus'".

The Holy Father concluded his comments by telling the faithful "let us, in Mary's school, learn to recognise the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to listen to His inspiration and humbly to follow it".

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