JOHN PAUL II
22 August 1999
Honour Blessed Virgin as Queen
1. In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples: "Who do you say that I am?║ (Mt 16:15). Simon Peter answers him: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16:16). Peter's answer contains the very heart of Christianity. On it rests the service to faith and unity that Peter and his successors are called to give, in accordance with Jesus' words: "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church" (Mt 16:18). The Pope's duty is a service to the Church and to humanity; this is why since ancient times he has been known as "Servus servorum Dei - Servant of the servants of God".
2. Today the liturgical calendar also invites us to honour Mary under the title of "Queen". This glorious title in a certain sense completes the image of Mary which last Sunday's liturgy offered us on the Solemnity of the Assumption. In fact, in order to understand properly Mary's royal prerogative we must not forget that there is a Christian meaning of royalty which is very different from the earthly images of power. This is a royal service of love which passes through the Cross (cf. Jn 18:33-37), before becoming radiant in the Resurrection.
May the Virgin Mary, crowned Queen, intercede for us and obtain that we imitate her in faithfully fulfilling GodÁs will on earth, to join her one day in the heavenly Jerusalem. In every situation of our life, let us invoke her with trust: "Queen of all saints, pray for us!".
3. At this moment I cannot forget the beloved peoples of Turkey who were recently hit by a violent earthquake. We are continuously receiving news of a situation that has acquired disastrous proportions. Official sources speak of thousands of deaths, which are unfortunately increasing as the rescue-work continues. There are countless injured and homeless, a vast number of buildings have been destroyed and inhabited neighbourhoods razed to the ground.
With constant apprehension and deep affection I am close to these brothers and sisters who have been so harshly tried. I express deep sorrow for the dead and pray merciful God to welcome them in his eternal dwelling-place. I also pray the Lord to alleviate the suffering of those who have been seriously injured and left homeless. May the rescue operations, promoted and coordinated by the authorities, the effective solidarity of volunteers from Turkey and many other countries be a comfort and help to everyone in that beloved nation who is experiencing a time of great tribulation. Let us pray for them now.
The Pope then greeted the faithful in various languages. To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors he said:
I cordially greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors who have joined us for this Angelus prayer, among them pilgrims from St Cecilia's and St Michael's Parish of Port Dover, Ontario. May these summer holidays be a time of joy and spiritual renewal for you and your families.
I assure everyone of my prayers and cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you all.
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