Pope dedicates the world to Our Lady

 The rosary was prayed in churches and and homes around the world over the weekend as the Pope dedicated the world and the third millennium to Our Lady. On Saturday, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima arrived at Ciampino airport in Rome from Portugal for the Jubilee of Bishops. It was transported to the Vatican where it was taken first to Pope John Paul II's private apartments. On Saturday morning, the statue was taken in a huge procession to St Peter's Basilica for pilgrims to venerate. A candle lit procession in the evening accompanied the statue from the basilica into St Peter's Square, where the Pope led the meditations on the mysteries of the rosary. Cardinals, bishops and five families from different continents all took part during the ceremony. On Sunday, Pope John Paul II entrusted the Church and third millennium to the Virgin Mary at a special Mass concelebrated with cardinals, bishops and priests. At the end of the ceremony, the statue was carried across St. Peter's Square accompanied in procession to the 'Mater Ecclesia' convent of cloistered nuns in the Vatican. Sister Lucia and the Carmelite religious of the Convent in Coimbra, Portugal, prayed the fifth mystery. She is the only surviving visionary of the three children to whom Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917. This is the first time the Pope has presided over the World Rosary, an initiative that began in Mexico in 1996. In Mexico City, the rosary was presided over by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On Monday morning, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, was to preside over a farewell ceremony for the Virgin of Fatima in the St Damascus patio in the Vatican. The statue will leave from Fiumicino airport for the return trip to Portugal.

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