BY STAFF REPORTER
POPE BENEDICT XVI has asked the Virgin Mary to give special protection to mothers, particularly those who find themselves alone in the task of educating their children.
The Pope offered his prayer during his pastoral visit to Sardinia last Sunday.
The Pontiff said that the feast of the Birth of the Virgin, celebrated on Monday, constituted "a fundamental stage for the Family of Nazareth, cradle of our redemption, an event that touches all of us, because every gift that God has given her, the Mother, he has given thinking also of each one of us, her chil He continued: "Hence, with immense gratitude, we ask Mary, Mother of the incarnate Word and our Mother, to protect every earthly mother those that, together with their husbands, educate their children in a harmonious family context, and those that, for so many reasons, find themselves alone in facing such an arduous task. May all be able to carry out with dedication and fidelity their daily service in the family, the Church, and society. May Our Lady be sustenance, comfort and hope for all."
He had earlier recalled the special attention popes through the years have given to the island, which he visited to mark the conclusion of the centenary of the proclamation of the Virgin of Bonaria as patroness of Sardinia.
He said: "Blessed Pius IX decreed her crowning; St Pius X. some 100 years ago, proclaimed her patroness of the whole of Sardinia; Pius XI conferred on the new church the title of Minor Basilica; Pius MI, 50 years ago. rendered himself spiritually present here with a special message broadcast live by Vatican Radio, and, in 1960, Blessed John XXIII sent a letter for the reopening of the shrine for worship after its restoration. The first pope to return to the island after 1,650 years was the Servant of God Paul VI, who visited the shrine on April 24 1970. And, on October 20 1985, our beloved John Paul ll also paused for prayer before the sacred effigy of Our Lady."
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