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1st International Day of Prayer, Amsterdam 1997


Excerpt from the homily of
His Excellency Msgr. Hendrik Bomers
Bishop of the Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam

Dear brothers and sisters!

It is both a joy and a grace that we all may be here together from so many nations of the world; this is truly a sign of how universal our faith is! The church of Jesus Christ is indeed one, united across all borders.

We want to thank our Lord Jesus Christ above all for His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, whom He gave as mother for us. Even though Mary was redeemed herself, she, in a unique way, also coop­erated in our redemption. Even Holy Scripture attests to this.

In the gospel of John, Christ twice calls His mother "woman".1 The first time was at the wedding feast of Cana when the wine had run out, and the second when Jesus' hour had come on Golgotha. There He once again called her "woman." Pointing at His disciple, He made him her son, and her his mother. In this "alliance of mercy," as this event on Calvary is called by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Mary became the mother of all Jesus' disciples and the Lady of All Nations.

Because of the many requests I received, exactly one year ago today, I, together with my auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Punt, approved the title "Lady of All Nations," and allowed its public veneration.

To­gether with you, I participate with conviction and joy in this International Day of Prayer. Let us together, then, love and honor Mary with this title "Lady of All Nations" and invoke her intercession.
It is my firm conviction that there is nothing better for us to do than to bring this Marian title into union with this spiritual temple, the Church, founded by Jesus Christ for the salvation of all people, without differentia­tion between race, language or culture.
In this time after the dramatic events of the Second World War in which we must still witness so many different forms of nationalism and racism, this meaningful title "Lady of All Nations" can help to heal mankind. Let us pray today through the intercession of the Lady of All Nations for the spirit of love and fraternity among people, and for peace and harmony between us all.

We also ask for her intercession that all the nations of the earth may come to know Christ and accept Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life. Let us—we who are already her disciples—ask the Lady of All Nations to help us that we may accept our responsibility and bring the gospel to all people who still don't know and accept Jesus.
May Mary strengthen in her children the spirit of the gospel and of love so greatly, that they may become believable witnesses to Him.

(1) The original Dutch word Vrouwe means both woman and lady, hence the connection to the messages.