by Fr. Julio M. Ciavaglia, CRSP

During this time of world tension, war, injustice, and immorality, let us follow the call of the Holy Father to pray the Rosary “to obtain from the Lord those graces that the Church and humanity especially need.” (Message for World Mission Sunday 2003). The Barnabite Fathers wholeheartedly echo the Holy Father’s words. Please pray urgently!

Pray for Peace

Mary, Patroness of the United States, is presented here as Our Lady of Fatima. At Fatima Mary predicted dire consequences for humanity if we did not pray and work for our own personal conversion and peace. The grief she has for the results of the violence done to her children is shown in her clasping the American Flag to her Immaculate Heart surrounded by a crown of thorns, which she indicated would triumph. Hanging next to the flag is the Rosary which she commanded us to pray in order to obtain personal conversion and true peace. The arrangement of the flag is itself symbolic. Only 12 of the 50 stars are clearly visible, these refer to Mary’s 12 star crown as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Around her Heart are four white stars. Three represent the Most Holy Trinity. She is represented by the fourth. At the bottom of the flag there are also four drops of blood. The top three represent the three crash sites: New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. The fourth drop is for the blood shed by the firefighters, police and others who gave their lives trying to rescue the victims.

It is easy to see that one of the clouds is formed by smoke rising from the Northeast of the United States where the September 11 attacks took place. The clouds in the foreground are turbulent showing the present fears, doubts and the uncertainty of the situation. The clouds in the distance however are placid indicating to us the hope that there will be true peace and justice for all.

At Our Lady’s Shrine the Fathers have placed a bulletin board in the Basilica upon which pilgrims have been posting the names and pictures of loved ones currently serving in the armed forces. Please pray for those on this board. We will gladly add the names of those whom you cherish.