4th International Day of Prayer
honoring the Lady and Mother of All Nations
Pentecost, June 10 – 12, 2000
His Mercy Embraces All Nations
Bishop Jozef Marianus Punt, the apostolic administrator for Haarlem-Amsterdam, opened the Fourth International Day of Prayer declaring:
"This is a very special feast in a special year, the Jubilee Year 2000.... This is a year to make a totally new beginning in our own lives, in our church and in the world. Therefore, I have associated a Jubilee Indulgence with a visit to this event.... Let us pray this Pentecost with strength and faith for our world, that the Holy Spirit may come into the hearts of all men, that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster and war...! We pray with Mary for a new Pentecost...! We begin with the prayer from Amsterdam!"
The merciful love of God, the mystery of love and of suffering, the mystery of redemption and coredemption were the central theme of this year's Day of Prayer, which was dedicated to all those who suffer.
Different contributions from the suffering or about suffering revealed the precious value of coredemption. The impressive testimonies brought many to a new and consoling understanding that not only stigmatists, innocently persecuted or handicap children are so-called "coredeemers," but that each one who carries an unappealing suffering, even those for which we are at fault, can unite it with the redeeming suffering of Jesus' sacrifice.
It is a blessing for them and can even become a source of grace for others. What Christian Good News! What consolation for all who suffer!
Again this year, pilgrims arrived at Amsterdam's RAI Convention Center from eighty-three countries of all inhabited continents for a renewal of Pentecost with Mary, the Mother of All Nations, to celebrate as the believers in Jerusalem.
Alone the fact that young and old, sick and healthy from different confessions, rites, languages, and skin colors met together with love and reverence and prayed together unanimously, produced a perceptibly harmonic, peaceful atmosphere. The prayer day really became a Pentecostal event, about which everybody agreed: "This was the nicest Day of Prayer. We were like a single, great, joyful family!"
This was also strikingly but accurately reported in the largest and most read newspaper in the Netherlands De Telegraaf, which read on June 13, 2000, "Mary, as Lady and Mother of All Nations, wants to lead all people together into one community and to bring true peace on earth." The believers especially liked, "to see so many bishops so joyful with one another," as one German pilgrim commented. This was true!
The Patriarch of Antioch, who is simultaneously the head of the Syro-Catholic Church, Lebanon; the four archbishops from Damascus, Syria; Izmir, Turkey; Calcutta, India; and Nairobi, Kenya; the twelve bishops from India, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malawi, Nigeria, Uruguay, Italy, the Netherlands and Lithuania; as well as the Archimandrite from Belorussia all gladly followed the call of the Lady of All Nations.
In their diverse, splendidly colored bishops' vestments the shepherds' affiliation with the Roman-Catholic, Greek-Catholic, Syro- Catholic and Syro-Malabaric rites was visible and it gave the liturgical celebration a heavenly ecumenical character.
"Our Lady changed me. I'm going back totally different!" were the parting words of the Patriarch before he flew back to Lebanon.
This proves how much the bishops were also touched by grace and they enthusiastically brought back a lot of material on the Lady of All Nations to their dioceses.
The Chinese Bishop of Taiwan, His Excellency Tsien, for example, will spread-out the prayer card in the Chinese underground church and teach the prayer to the faithful. Also in attendance were approximately eighty priests from around the world who also returned home strengthened.