Blessed Mary brings people of different faiths together By Munir Bayouk/ en.abouna.org

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In his message to the annual youth meeting in Medjugorje, read out August 1, 2020, Pope Francis urged young people gathered in Medjugorje to imitate the Virgin Mary by abandoning themselves to God.

This call brings to the light the idea which indicates that Blessed Mary is not just the Mother of the Church, but also Mother of Humanity, Mother of Love, and Mother of all Creatures.

People in this world lose their mothers who ultimately pass away, but what needs to be remembered is that we have an “Eternal Mother”, namely Blessed Mary. The angel addressed Blessed Mary saying, "Hail Mary full of grace…" It is factual that Mother Mary was full of grace the moment she was born, which really distinguishes Her from any other women in the entire world.

Blessed Virgin Mary is our Mother as well. She cares about us and rushes to help us once we seek Her help when we are in trouble. She excels the angels and all the creatures in Her closeness to God. The Angel Gabriel indicated this when he said: “The Lord is with you”--as if to say: “I reverence you because you art nearer to God than I, because the Lord is with you.”

MEDJUGORJE APPARITIONS
Referring to His Holiness Pope Francis' address to young people gathering in Medjugorje, it is to be noted that the Medjugorje apparitions began June 24, 1981, when six children in Medjugorje, a town in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina, began to experience the apparitions of Blessed Virgin Mary.

According to them, the apparitions contained a message of peace for the world, a call to conversion, prayer and fasting, as well as certain secrets surrounding events to be fulfilled in the future.

Among the visionaries is Mirjana Dragičević Soldo, 55, who still lives in Medjugorje. In 1987, she began seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary on the second day of every month. During those alleged apparitions, Soldo prayed with the Blessed Virgin Mary for non-believers, and conveyed a message to the throngs of Catholic pilgrims who throng to Medjugorje for the event.

CCSM: BLESSED MARY BRINGS PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT FAITHS TOGETHER IN JORDAN
In Jordan, the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan (CCSM) played a key role in highlighting the Feast of the Annunciation which brought Muslims and Christians together. Two celebrations were held by the CCSM in 2018 and 2019 during which national unity was observed between Christians and Muslims who venerated Blessed Mary in an atmosphere of love that culminated in reflecting genuine brotherly ties.
Both ceremonies were attended by bishops and heads of Churches in Jordan as well as representatives of the Iftaa Department, of the Chief Islamic Justice Department, of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, and of several Islamic associations. The ceremony was also attended by members of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament, ambassadors accredited to Jordan, journalists and several media outlets from Jordan and abroad, Jordanian dignitaries, Christian and Muslim believers, and a Lebanese delegation representing “the Christian-Muslim Meeting Around Mary.

In an address by CCSM Director Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader said, “We have gathered today as one family to say that we support the establishment of new and distinguished relations between Muslims and Christians not only in our holy country, but rather throughout the world. We have gathered to quench our thirst from the Amman Message, from the blessed waters of the River Jordan, from the holiness of Nazareth, the city of Annunciation, from the holiness and purity of noble Jerusalem as well as from the non-abidance by unilateral and unfair resolutions. We have gathered to approve of teaching our children in schools the grace of love, fraternity and respect. We have gathered to approve of comparison of religions within the framework of academic and moral courses in universities--by neither creating conflicts with religions, nor abusing the beliefs of others, nor even to resorting to extremism and to violence. We have gathered here to endorse preaching the basic values foremost of which being love for God and neighbors. We have gathered here to say that the only allowed extremism is that relevant to love, brotherhood and altruism."

Reacting to the celebrations marking the Feast of the Annunciation, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop William Shomali said, “Among the religious figures that unite Muslims and Christians is the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Lord Jesus Christ, as She is highly revered in both the Holy Gospel and the Holy Koran. Therefore, the celebration marking the Feast of the Annunciation, which is held for the second time in Jordan, is a commonality that unites the believers in God under the current circumstances where attempts in some countries are designed to drive wedges between people."

It is to be noted that due to the lockdown in Jordan which was triggered by COVID-19 pandemic, the CCSM could not hold the annual Feast of the Annunciation in 2020.

BLESSED MARY... MOTHER OF ALL
Blessed Mary has treated all humankind as her own children. Through Her several apparitions over the centuries, She delivered countless messages for humankind, namely messages of love, prayer, peace, and hope.
We pray to Our Mother, Blessed Mary, seeking Her mercy and support in facing all the problems of the world including diseases, wars, hunger, persecution, unemployment and corruption.

POPE'S PRAYER IMPLORING VIRGIN MARY'S PROTECTION CURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
O Mary, You shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to You, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross You participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.
We are certain that You will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee, joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father’s will and to do what Jesus tells us: He, who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
Amen.

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