THE Pope may be physically weak, but his sufferings are a great grace for the Church, more than 500 pilgrims heard at the first UK national day of prayer honouring The Lady of all Nations, in Nottingham last Saturday. Devotion to the Mother Of God, under the title of 'The Lady of all Nations' was authorised in 1996 by the late Archbishop Henrik Bomers of Harlaam-Amsterdam, in Holland, when he formally re-opened the investigation into Marian visions received in Amsterdam by office worker Ida Peerdman. From 1997 to 2000, more than 15,000 pilgrims each year, including cardinals and bishops, gathered in Holland to honour Our Lady under this title. This year the focus has switched to national celebrations around the world, with the UK's taking place at the Henry Haddon Sports Centre, Nottingham. Fr Paul Maria Sigl, an Austrian priest based in Rome, told the gathering, which had the blessing of Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham: "The Pope may be weaker than he was ten years ago but he is 10,000 times stronger spiritually." Fr Sigl, founder of a community of priests and sisters called: the Family Of the Co-Redemptrix, said there can be no graces received except through suffering, and this was the Pope's example. He urged participants to evangelise using the image of Our Lady of all Nations and the prayer of Our Lady Of All Nations, received by Ida Peerdman. And he gave personal examples: "One lady came to one of our talks in Colombia, and told me her husband and son had been kidnapped by the mafia and had been missing for more than a year. That very same day after she took a picture and prayed this prayer with her heart, her son and husband were freed," he said. On another occasion, he said he gave the image out on a aircraft and two lapsed Catholic stewardesses came to confession for the first time in years. Fr Sigl's community, was co-founded by Slovak Bishop Paul Hinilca SJ, a friend of the Pope, and the man who helped the Holy Father deepen his appreciation of the messages of Our Lady of Fatima during his recovery from the 1981 attempt on his life. The community, which has an extensive missionary outreach in Eastern Europe, has episcopal permission for the promotion of devotion to Our Lady of all Nations. The UK event was organised by the vocations prayer group which meets at St Barnabas Cathedral, Nottingham. Organiser Val Leahy told the conference: "What is Our Lady calling you to do? Let us hope there are going to be many people asking that question." The revelations given to Ida Peerdman, who died in 1996, are currently being re-investigated by the local diocese. Among the many prophecies she confided to her spiritual director, was the death of Pope Pius XII and the Second Vatican Council. According to Ida, the Blessed Mother said a new Pentecost would come upon the earth if a fifth and final Marian Dogma of Mary as Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces is pronounced by the Pope. A petition calling for the Pope to declare this dogma has attracted support from cardinals, bishops, priests and laity worldwide. Among those supporting the petition were Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Cardinal Luigi Ciappi, Papal Theologian to Popes Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II. The prayer of Our Lady of all Nations reads as follows: Lord Jesus Christ Son of the Father, Send now your Spirit over the earth. Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations, that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster and war. May the Lady of all Nations, who once was Mary be our advocate. Amen. (Imprimatur Bishop Victor Guazzelli, Westminster 1970)
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