Pope Francis is giving 6,000 rosaries that he blessed personally to Catholic communities in Syria as a symbol of his closeness to them on the Feast of the Assumption, he announced during his Angelus message on August 15.
He said the Syrian families that lost someone because of the war are close to his heart. The rosaries were made by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
The universal church celebrates the major Marian feast today, the end of Mary’s earthly life and assumption into heaven. Pope Francis said in his message, “Today we look at Mary and we see the goal. We see that a creature was assumed to the glory of Jesus, the Risen Christ.”
“Every time we take the rosary into our hands and pray with it, we take a step towards the great goal of life,” he said.
“Prayer made with faith is powerful! We continue to pray the rosary for peace in the Middle East and in the whole world.”
In his address, the pontiff also keyed in on today’s Gospel from Luke, and the verbs Mary uses in her prayer, known as the Magnificat, in the passage from Luke chapter one, particularly to rejoice and to magnify.
“We rejoice when something so beautiful happens that it is not enough to rejoice inside, in the soul, but we want to express happiness with the whole body,” Pope Francis said. “Mary rejoices because of God… she teaches us to rejoice in God, because He does “great things.”
Pope Francis continued to encourage the Church with the metaphor of Mary as the Gate of Heaven. He prayed that the Blessed Mother may help believers each day to turn their eyes to “the place where our true home lies,” instead of “petty things in life.”
He told those facing doubts and sadness today’s feast is a call to not live in fear and recognize Heaven is not far. Also, Mary is waiting at the gates for each of us and that all are beloved in God’s eyes.
“Every time we take the Rosary in our hands and pray to her,” the pope said, “we take a step forward towards our life’s great goal.”