VATICAN CITY (CNS): Beginning the 25th year of his papacy, a landmark reached by only four of his predecessors, Pope John Paul II thanked God for his ministry and entrusted his future to the care of the Virgin Mary.
His first official act on October 16, the 24th anniversary of his election, was to sign a new apostolic letter on the Rosary, calling it his favourite prayer and urging Catholics to rediscover its contemplative richness.
The signing was the high point of a festive general audience in St Peter’s Square attended by nearly 20,000 pilgrims who applauded the frail 82 year-old pontiff.
The Pope recalled his words in Poland in August when he asked Mary to give him ‘strength in body and spirit, that I may carry out to the end the mission given me by the risen Lord’.
‘I repeat those words today,’ he said. He thanked God for his 24 years in the See of Peter and re-entrusted the Church and ‘much tormented’ humanity to Jesus’ mother.
‘I also entrust my future to her. I place everything into her hands so that with the love of a mother she will present it to her son,’ said the Pope, whose papal motto, ‘Totus tuus’ (‘All yours’), is dedicated to Mary.