Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cardinal Law celebrates snowy Mass marking dedication of St. Mary Major

It's interesting that the following story, from Catholic News Service, was picked up by the Boston Archdiocesan website. Only they eliminated the paragraph stating three US groups asked the Pope to bar Cardinal Law from this Mass, as they had done also last year.

Friday, August 5, 2011
By Online Editor
By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) -- White flower petals fell from the ceiling of Rome's Basilica of St. Mary Major as Romans and pilgrims joined Cardinal Bernard F. Law, archpriest of the basilica, for Mass marking the church's dedication.

According to tradition, on Aug. 5, 358, Mary caused snow to fall on the spot, indicating where she wanted a church built in her honor. The event is marked each Aug. 5 with flower-petal precipitation during the singing of the Gloria at Mass and with an evening lightshow outside the basilica featuring artificial snow spewing from cannons.

During his homily, Cardinal Law said the basilica celebrates Mary as the true mother of God. "Mary is the providential instrument chosen by God to make himself visible to our eyes, our minds and our hearts."

The cardinal offered special prayers for Pope Benedict XVI in the year marking the 60th anniversary of his priestly ordination and for Christians in Egypt and in other parts of the world who suffer for their faith.

He ended his homily by praying that the Basilica of St. Mary would be "a place of communion with God the father, son and Holy Spirit; a place of authentic Marian devotion drawing people ever closer to her divine son; and a place of true conversion, healing, holiness and peace."

As in 2010, three U.S.-based groups who represent victims of clerical sex abuse had issued statements Aug. 4 asking Pope Benedict to bar Cardinal Law from celebrating such a publicly prominent Mass.

Cardinal Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in 2002 amid criticism of his handling of clergy sex abuse cases; Pope John Paul II named him archpriest of St. Mary Major in 2004.

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