If you live in Rome or will be visiting this month, there is a lovely set of events devoted to Mary at and in St. Peter’s Basilica throughout May – see below for story.
POPE MEETS WITH FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC PHARMACISTS
Meeting with members of the International Federation of Catholic Pharmacists, Pope Francis highlights the crucial role this professional category plays in society, which has been further confirmed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
By Lisa Zengarini (vaticannews)
Pope Francis has praised pharmacists for their engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic, recalling that they play a critical social role in society. “Pharmacists are like a ‘bridge’ between citizens and the health system,” he said.
His remarks came during an audience on Monday with 15 members of the International Federation of Catholic Pharmacists.
In his address, the Holy Father noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has put pharmacists “at the forefront” and has encouraged them support each other.
In this regard, he congratulated the Federation for taking the opportunity of the crisis to give a new impulse to its associative commitment that, he noted, “is typical of the Catholic tradition.”
For more on the audience in the Santa Marta residence with Catholic pharmacists: Pope tells Catholic pharmacists they play a crucial social role – Vatican News
CELEBRATING MARY AND THE MONTH OF MAY IN ST. PETER’S BASILICA
The Fabbrica di San Pietro is the Vatican entity responsible for the care, conservation and maintenance of St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as exercising vigilance over its sacred character and the reception of visitors. It has been working on establish innovative programs – artistic, spiritual and liturgical – along with the archpriest of the basilica and his staff, especially with a view to the 2025 Holy Year, A communique today from the Fabbrica announced that, on the occasion of the month of May, the month that the People of God dedicates in a special way to Marian devotion, the Vatican Vicariate and the parish of St. Peter have organized a series of events to celebrate the Virgin Mary, venerated in the basilica with the special title of “Mater Ecclesiae,” Mother of the Church.
On Wednesdays in May, starting at 4 pm and departing from the basilica atrium, there will be an itinerant prayer that will touch the main depictions inside the basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Prayer will end at 5 pm with the celebration of the Holy Mass.
Every Saturday evening throughout May, from 9 pm to 10 pm, there will be a torchlit procession in St. Peter’s Square with the reproduction of the image of the “Mater Ecclesiae, accompanied by the recitation of the holy rosary with Cardinal Angelo Comastri, retired archpriest of the basilica.
The “Mater Ecclesiae” image is painted on a column of the ancient Constantinian basilica – the first St. Peter’s Basilica dedicated in 326, This was its name before St. Paul VI gave it the new title for St. Peter and for the universal Church. The liturgy calls the apostles of Christ the pillar and foundation of the Church, referring to the vision of the heavenly Jerusalem described in the Apocalypse. St. John Paul II, in 1981, several months after the May 13 attack in St. Peter’s Square , blessed a mosaic inspired by “Mater Ecclesiae” and expressed the desire “that those who come to St. Peter’s Square raise their gaze towards you, to direct their sentiments of filial trust, greetings and prayers to Mary.”
(This mosaic copy of the original , with St. John Paul’s motto TOTUS TUUS, is on the outside of the Apostolic Palace:)