Mother of the Church

Here is the icon (in mosaic) of Our Lady, Mother of the Church that overlooks Saint Peter’s Square. Blessed Pope John Paul II had it installed there as an ex voto after he survived the assassination attempt of 1981. Last year I met the religious sister whose office is behind this mosaic (she’s from the US).

Photographed by me in January 2014.

Pope John Paul blessed this image on December 8, 1981 during his Angelus Address. Here are his words on that occasion:

Today we recite our Angelus prayer, for the first time, before the icon and under the gaze of the Most Holy Virgin, Mother of the Church, who looks down upon St. Peter’s Square from the mosaic attached to the side of this Apostolic Palace. In the arrangement of this wonderful Square there lacked an image that recalled – also in a visible way – the presence of She whom “the Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother” (Lumen Gentium, 53).

I am happy to inaugurate, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this testimony of our love and devotion, and I trust that She, with constant care, will continue to “care for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties” (Ibid., 62), granting also to our generation that we might experience the invincible power of her maternal protection.

Now I will bless the image of Our Lady, “Mother of the Church”, with the desire that whoever should come to this Square of St. Peter will lift their gaze to Her in order, with sentiments of filial trust, to address to Her their greeting and their prayers.

[source; my translation]

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