Sunday, 16 August 2009


Happy feast day to everybody! The Assumption is the principal feast day of Our Lady in the Church's calendar. So my holiday snap today is of the principal shrine of Our Lady in Lithuania - the so-called "Gate or Gates of Dawn" in the capital, Vilnius. This is the last remaining gate of the old city, and is crowned by a little chapel containing an image of Mary under the title "Mother of Mercy" - you can see the Latin Mater Misericordiae in the picture. People come here from all over, both Catholic and Orthodox, Lithuanians, Poles, Byelorussians and Russians, some climbing the steps up to the chapel on their knees. Pope John Paul prayed the Rosary here, and the Patriarch of Moscow prayed with the Cardinal Archbishop of Vilnius. People make the sign of the cross as they go in and out of the city gate. All very appropriate for today's Gospel, the Magnificat, when Our Lady proclaims the mercy of God, the very heart of the Christian message. But more of Divine Mercy later this week...

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