VATICAN CITY (Zenit): In a moving ceremony with 1500 bishops on hand, Pope John Paul II entrusted humanity and the third millennium to the protection of the Virgin Mary.
The Pope made the proclamation before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which was brought to the Vatican from Portugal for the occasion.
In the statue’s crown was the bullet that almost ended the Pope’s life on May 13, 1981.
St Peter’s Square was a sea of people. The statue was received with enthusiastic applause as it was brought into the square in procession, and followed by the Holy Father, who was visibly moved by the event.
During the homily at the concelebrated Mass, Pope John Paul described the scene of faith and prayer before him as a “great cenacle”.
The Pope spoke on behalf of all the world’s pastors when he asked Mary for her maternal protection, confidently imploring her intercession given the challenges the future holds.