SCIENCE united congregations around the globe on Saturday night when the Pope launched the special Marian year (until August 15, 1988) in Rome at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore. The Pope was able to hear the lines of the rosary spoken simultaneously along with him from as far afield as Caacupe, Paraguay and Lourdes, France.
16 Marian-shrines were linked worldwide by satellite and so 1.5 billion people saw and joined in the service.
Cardinal Hume, in a pastoral letter last Sunday spoke of Mary's role as Mother of God. Pentecost Sunday was a particularly appropriate day to start the year of devotion, he said, because it was on the first Pentecost Sunday that the apostles received the Holy Spirit in the presence of Mary and other women.
"Our Lady was there on the day the Church was born. She was not just a spectator as the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles. She had her own special role to play. She became the mother of us all . . . She became the Mother of the Church."
Cardinal Hume urged priests and people to pay special attention to Our Lady this Marian year and initiate celebrations in homes and schools for her special feasts. He recommended greater use of the Hail Mary, Rosary, the Litany of Our Lady and the novena of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour.