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Pope Francis, in message, invokes Mary as Mediatrix of all graces, warns against ‘sterile traditionalism’

June 02, 2023

Thousands of people took part in a Marian procession in the Sardinian city of Sassari on May 28 to mark the 80th anniversary of the sparing of their city from Allied bombing during World War II.

L’Osservatore Romano recalled that in 1943, following the bombing of other Sardinian cities, Archbishop Arcangelo Mazzotti, OFM, led a procession of a 15th-century statue of Our Lady of Grace from a Franciscan shrine to the cathedral, where the faithful kept vigil to implore Our Lady to protect Sassari from bombing. Archbishop Mazzotti vowed that if the city were spared, Our Lady would be honored with a solemn procession—and thus the annual “Feast of the Vow,” commemorated on the last Sunday of May, was born.

“The planes several times would receive the order to bomb [Sassari] and raze the historic center with the nearby strategic station,” the Vatican newspaper continued. “But every time, something goes wrong: bombs that jam and can’t be dropped, sudden unexpected thunderstorms, abnormal clouds and fog that hide the view. The fact is that Sassari is spared.”

In his message for the Feast of the Vow, Pope Francis invoked the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mediatrix of all graces—a title used by the popes with relative infrequency.

Recalling the events of 1943, Pope Francis spoke of “the devotion of the Catholic people who, in the difficult moments of life, did not hesitate to entrust themselves to the Virgin Mary as ‘Advocate’ with Jesus. This was also the case for you, dear daughters and dear sons of the particular Church of Sassari, who have always nourished an inseparable bond with the heavenly Mother, affectionately invoked as the Virgin of Grace.”

After discussing pastoral conversion, spiritual renewal, and the archdiocese’s synodal path, Pope Francis wrote:

Please, do not give in to the temptation to remain anchored to a nostalgic popular piety made only of external rites or to a sterile traditionalism that is rather the expression of the dead faith of the living. As I have had occasion to recall, tradition makes the Church grow from the bottom upwards, similar to the roots with the tree; but at present there is a great danger, that of going backwards, “going backwards, which leads us to think according to logic: it has always been done this way’ (citation). We are the branches that must flourish and sow new seeds into history.

One of the ancient titles with which Christians invoked the Virgin Mary is precisely “Mediatrix of all graces.” Entrust to her your aspirations and resolutions for good kept in your innermost being; may she infect you with the joy of following Christ and serving him with a humble and docile style in the Church ...


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  • Posted by: lovison4584 - Jun. 02, 2023 9:17 PM ET USA

    I see my article "All Graces? A Stude of the Title 'Mary Mediatrix of All Graces" is still on the site