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5th International Day of Prayer, Amsterdam 2003

Greeting from the
Greek-Melchite-Catholic Church of Brazil
Our Lady of the Rosary

Sao Paolo, May 12, 2003

His Excellency
Msgr. Paolo Maria Hnilica SJ

My very reverend brother!
I was very happy to be able to participate in the Second International Day of Prayer in honor of the Lady of All Nations. At that celebration I swung a censer (used for incense) decorated with 12 little bells, and I spoke about their meaning. The 12 bells represent the 12 apostles grouped around Our Lady, symbolized by the incense vessel. The glowing coals symbolize the Child Jesus, the light of the world. One of the bells, however, made no sound; it represents Judas Iscariot. The presiding priest should never reveal which bell is mute. For those listening it seems as if all the bells—rejoicing and praising God—are ringing, the saints and the sinner as well. And the incense rises up to heaven in the name of everyone.

It filled me with great joy when, after the prayer, somebody came to me, knelt down in tears and said, “Father, I am the mute little bell, a sinner, who cannot praise God. Father, do you believe that God will accept me and hear the voice of a repentant soul?”

When I looked at this kneeling, crying person, I believed I was seeing Mary Magdalene at the feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And with tears in my eyes I said to her, “Daughter of God, go in peace, your sins have been forgiven. God loves you and today He gives you a great gift. From now on you are a child of the Mother of All Nations. Stay always at her side. She will always take care of you and make you a temple of the Most Holy Trinity.” Then I saw a great radiance in her face.

Until today, I have thought that the Virgin Mary, Our Lady, invited me to that Day of Prayer to meet this soul and to give her the peace, love, and forgiveness of God, and to place her under the special protection of the Lady and Mother of All Nations.

Unfortunately, I cannot be there this time, but I would still like to say one thing to you all: On the day of the Annunciation, the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary of Nazareth her vocation as the Mother of God. And on the cross, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, announced that the Mother of God would be the Mother of All Nations.

I will accompany you during these 3 days with the Rosary and I will pray to God to bless us all and to give the world peace—through the intercession of the Mother of God, the Mother of All Nations.

Dom Fares Maakaroun
Archbishop of the Brasilian Greek-Melchite-Catholic Church