'Mighty bells summon the world to prayer': Cardinal Griffin
"IT is with the Feast of the Immaculate Con. ception that we open our onslaught upon Heaven," said Cardinal Griffin on Sunday.
Preaching in Westminster Cathedral, His Eminence asked for prayers during Our Lady's Year especially for our nonCatholic brethren, for peace and harmony on earth, and for the
Church of Silence, "for whom it is our privilege to speak."
"On Tuesday," said the Cardinal, "the dawn of the Marian Year broke. Throughout the Christian world in answer to the call of the Holy Father. Catholics fell to their knees and raised their voices in praise of the Mother of Cod.
is as if the mighty bells of St. Peter's in Rome had sounded forth a great Angelus. summoning the world to prayer not just for a few moments but for an entire year."
The Cardinal gave thanks for the preservation of the cathedral during the war, recalling the great occasions of the past," the colourful spectacle of scarlet and purple" and in contrast "those hours when the cathedral has been shrouded in semi-darkness."
"Throughout each day little groups of worshippers may he seen at prayer in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and who can tell of the magnitude of the graces there received."
The Cardinal continued. "If we cross the cathedral to the Lady Chapel we may be sure that we shall also find people at prayer before the altar dedicated in honour of the Mother of God.
"For in this country devotion to Our Blessed Lady dates right back to the coming of Christianity to these shores.
"England herself enjoyed the precious title of 'Dowry of Mary,' and suitably enough our Archdiocese of Westminster has as its principal patron Our Blessed Lady Immacu
late'q't was not until a century ago that
the Holy Father gave his infallible
"A few years later Mary herself put her seal upon the Church's doctrine. She appeared to a simple village child in the south of France and, on her last appearance, declared that she was the Immaculate Conception.
"Pilgrims have flocked to her shrine at Lourdes to pay honour to her and, for all of us, Lourdes is our home in a very special way, for Mary has made it phrticularly her own.
"It is the same at Fatima where Mary made known the devotion to her Immaculate Heart.
"A plenary indulgence is to be gained each day by those of the faithful who visit such shrines of Our Lady and we in the Archdiocese of Westminster may gain a plenary indulgence when we make a pilgrimage, with proper intentions, to the shrine of Our Lady of Willesden.
We must not be selfish with our
prayers, added the Cardinal.
"During this year we will not forget our brothers and sisters in this great family. First of all, we will pray especially for our separated brethren and for those who do not enjoy the privileges and pleasures of the Catholic Faith.
"And then we will pray that this great family may be united in peace and harmony. During this century we have known little but wars and rumours of wars.
"And finally. we will pray for those of our brethren who are suffering for the Faith. For the Church of Silence, who cannot speak out openly themselves. We will ask our mother to console them and comfort them and ask her to beseech her Son to lift the chains of persecution from the Church in Eastern Europe, in the Balkans and in China.