On November 11, 2020, Vatican News reported that Pope Francis blessed the image of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal that will go on pilgrimage in Italy against the Coronavirus.
The Holy Father Francis blessed the holy image of the Immaculate Virgin Mary of the Miraculous Medal on Wednesday 11 November in the Vatican in the presence of the superior general of the Congregation of the Mission, Fr. Tomaž Mavrič and a small delegation that organizes the Pilgrimage of Mary which visits the Communities in Italy on the occasion of the 190th anniversary of the apparitions to Saint Catherine Labouré.
In the difficult situation that the whole world is experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in a society marked by strong tensions in every continent, the spiritual children of St. Vincent de Paul begin, with the Marian pilgrimage, a path of proclamation of the merciful love of God.
It was the night between 18 and 19 July 1830 when Catherine Labouré, a young Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, saw the Holy Virgin with whom she had a long encounter. Among the words of the Holy Virgin: “Times are very sad. Misfortunes will come upon France. The whole world will be devastated by calamities of all kinds. But you, come to the foot of this altar, here the graces will be spread over all those who request them with confidence and fervor … I have always watched over you.” Then, on 27 November 1830, Catherine Labouré saw the Holy Virgin with a small globe (representing humanity) in her hands; she contemplated her beauty and she accepted the mission of having a medal struck: “those who wear it will receive great graces!”
The Vincentians, (aka. Congregation of the Mission - an order founded by St. Vincent de Paul) faithful to the Word of God and inspired by their centuries-old charism that calls them to serve God in the poor, with the initiative of the Pilgrim Mary wish to remember that even today the Holy Virgin invites us to the foot of the altar.
Today the world is deeply troubled. Poverty is rampant, further accentuated by the pandemic, and on 15 November we will experience the IV World Day of the Poor, with the theme “Lend your hand to the poor.” In the message for that day, Pope Francis writes: “This moment we are experiencing has called many certainties into crisis. We feel poorer and weaker because we have experienced the sense of limitation and the restriction of freedom. The loss of work, of our dearest affections, as well as the lack of the usual interpersonal relationships have suddenly opened up horizons that we never used to observe. Our spiritual and material riches were questioned and we found we were afraid. Closed up in the silence of our homes, we have rediscovered how important simplicity is and keeping our eyes fixed on the essential. We have developed the need for a new fraternity, capable of mutual aid and mutual esteem.”
The Virgin of the Miraculous Medal continues today, after 190 years, to watch over the whole of humanity and comes as a pilgrim to visit and meet the ecclesial communities scattered throughout Italy thus fulfilling the promise of love contained in her Message: “I myself will be always with you… trust… don’t be discouraged.”
Mary will begin her pilgrimage on Tuesday 1 December and will last until 22 November 2021 with the following calendar:
1 December 2020 – 1 January 2021: Lazio, Marche, Umbria;
2 January – 3 February 2021: Campania;
4 February – 28 February 2021: Calabria;
1st March – 31st March 2021: Sicily;
1 April – 30 April 2021: Puglia, Basilicata and Abruzzo;
1st May – 31st May: Tuscany and Liguria;
1 – 30 June: Piedmont and Lombardy;
12 September – 13 October: Emilia Romagna and Triveneto;
19 October – 22 November: Sardinia.