Pope Paul VI and more than 1,000 cardinals, archbishops and bishops filled the Basilica of St. Mary Major on Oct. 11 to commemorate the first anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
In a homily on the anniversary, the Pope prayed to the Blessed Virgin to inspire and guide the council Fathers, all Christians separated from Rome and all mankind.
“Mary, look upon us, your sons,” he said. “Look upon us, brothers and disciples, apostles and continuers of Jesus. Make us conscious of our vocation and our mission. Make us worthy of receiving in our priesthood, in our words, in offering our lives for the faithful entrusted to us, the representation, the personification of Christ. You, O Full of Grace, assure that the priesthood which honors you may be saintly and immaculate.
“Oh Mary, we pray you for our Christian brothers still separated from our Catholic family. You see how a glorious portion of them with faith and love holds you in veneration. You see how in other portions, so stead fast as to call themselves Christians, the memory of you and your veneration is dawning most beautifully. Call all these sons of yours together with us to the same unity under your maternal and heavenly protection.
“Look upon the whole of humanity, O Mary, this modern world in which the divine plan called us to live and to work. It is a world that is turning its back on the light of Christ and then is afraid and weeps in the frightful shadows it creates. Your sweet and human voice, O
beautiful one among the virgins, O most worthy among mothers, O blessed among all women, invites the world to turn its gaze on the life that is the light of men, on you who are the forerunner of Christ, Who is the supreme and only Light….
“Give the world the capacity to value everything as God’s gift and thereby give the virtue of operating with goodness and of using these gifts with wisdom and providence. Give peace to the world. Make us, still so divided, brothers. Guide it (the world) to a more organized society where men can live in accord. Give comfort to those who suffer….Give rest to the dead. Show us that you are a mother to us. This is our prayer, O pious, O clement, O sweet Virgin Mary.”