Mary Is the ‘Star of the New Evangelization’

The Pope’s Video-Message for the Inauguration of the Virgin Mary’s Spire of Barcelona’s Basilica of the Holy Family

Star of the New Evangelization
Inauguration of the Tower of the Virgin Mary of the Holy Family © Vatican Media

Mary is the “Star of the New Evangelization,” said Pope Francis in his Video-Message, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Spire of the Virgin Mary of the Basilica of the Holy Family in Barcelona, which took place on December 8, 2021, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

The Star of Mary’s Spire Shines Today

 In his Video-Message, the Pope joined the event with a cordial Franciscan greeting at the very moment in which the star was lighted of the Virgin Mary’s spire of the Basilica of the Holy Family. The Holy Father also expressed his special greeting “to the poorest of that great city, to the sick, to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to the elderly, to young people that, given different situations, see their future compromised <and> to people living moments of trial and he added, “dear friends, the star of Mary’s spire shines for all of you today.”

Mary is the “Star of the New Evangelization”

 The Bishop of Rome said that Mary is the “star of the New Evangelization.” Therefore, “raising our eyes to the star that crowns the spire, I invite you to contemplate our Mother, ‘because each time we look at Mary we believe again in the revolutionary <effect> of tenderness and affection’ (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 288).

The Holy Father recalled in this way the celebration of the Solemnity of Mary Immaculate: “She certainly is a masterpiece! In perfect attunement with God’s plan for Her, the Virgin Mary became the most holy, humble, docile, and transparent before God.” He also highlighted the figure of the architect, Antoni Gaudí, who wanted this mystery to crown the portal of faith — the first he built so that, in reciting the prayer to the Most Holy Trinity, which is written all over the Basilica, we would learn to be, as Mary, a temple of this mystery and worship God in spirit and in truth.”

His Holiness also encouraged us to follow the Virgin Mary’s example with “daily gestures of love and service,” adding that the immaculate beauty of our Mother  “is inimitable.” In this regard, he hopes that this star, which shines from today, “may illumine you so that, in reciting the beads of the Rosary, you may say ‘yes’ once and for all to the Lord’s grace and say a rotund ‘no’ to sin.“

The “Portal of Hope”

 To conclude, the Successor of Peter joined the prayers that, “as innumerable roses, appear at Mary’s feet in that lovely Basilica.” “I pray that each one of you will make Barcelona a more habitable and welcome city for all. I entrust to Mary especially those people that carry out more responsible roles. May the Virgin Mary obtain for you wisdom, promptness in service, and open-mindedness.

“May Holy Mary watch over families with Her luminous star, She, making up the Holy Family of Nazareth with the Chid Jesus and Saint Joseph, lived situations similar to those of many families like yours. Gaudí represented it in the portal of hope, expressing with the face of the workmen the sufferings and difficulties that put them in communion with those that the Holy Family suffered, the exile to Egypt of so many poor who are seeking a better future or fleeing from evil; the death of so many innocents that are united to those of Bethlehem. May the Virgin Mary watch over your homes, your schools, Universities, offices, businesses, hospitals, prisons. While praying the chaplet of the Virgin’s sorrows, don’t forget to pray for the poor, the excluded, because they are in God’s heart. And so often we are responsible for their poverty and exclusion. Let us take advantage <of the moment> to examine ourselves, to see how much responsibility we have in this regard.”

“May this lighted star of the Virgin Mary’s spire also illumines us to continue bringing to life the Diocesan Pastoral Plan, radiating everywhere the joy of the Gospel. From your encounter with Christ, may you grow in fraternity, in the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel to young people, in hospitality to the poor and the marginalized, from the discernment of one whose ear is very fine to be able to listen to the Spirit and have a heart that is totally willing to fulfill what He asks of us. Don’t forget the tree, don’t forget the elderly,” he concluded.

 Here is the text of the Pope’s Message, provided by the Vatican:

 * * *

Dear brothers and sisters, pilgrimaging in the Archdiocese of Barcelona,” peace and goodness! And with this cordial Franciscan greeting, I join you all from Rome in this moment in which the star is lighted of the Virgin Mary’s spire of the Basilica of the Holy Family.

My greeting also goes especially to the poorest of that great city, to the sick, to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, to the elderly, to the young people who, because of different situations, see their future compromised, to people that are living moments of trial. Dear friends, the star of Mary’s spire shines for all of you today.

Together with my brothers, the Archbishop Cardinal Juan José Omella and his three Auxiliary Bishops, you “walk together,” namely, in a synodal manner, both with the lay faithful — children, adolescents, young people, and adults –, as well as with the members of consecrated life, the seminarians, the Deacons and the Priests. In this synodal path, you are illumined from today by the star that the great architect, Antoni Gaudí dreamed would crown the Virgin Mary’s spire.

Because Mary is the “Star of the New Evangelization.” Therefore, raising our eyes to the star that crowns the spire, I invite you to contemplate our Mother, “because every time we look at Mary we believe again in the revolutionary <effect> of tenderness and affection” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 288).

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Immaculate. She certainly is a masterpiece! In perfect attunement with God’s plan for Her, the Virgin Mary became the most holy, humble, docile, and transparent before God. Gaudí wanted this mystery to crown the portal of faith – the first he built — so that, on reciting the prayer to the Most Holy Trinity, that is written all over the Basilica, we would learn to be, as Mary, a temple of this mystery and worship God in spirit and in truth.

In fact, Saint Luke’s Gospel refers to Her as “full of grace” (Luke 1:28). We also address her thus in every Hail Mary we pray, always feeling Her maternal and endearing presence. She is full of the presence of God, who became flesh in Her womb. Hence Gaudí also places Her at the center of the portal of charity, offering us the Child God under Saint Joseph’s attentive gaze, so that we enter His Church inflamed with love of God and of men.

I encourage you also to follow the Virgin Mary’s example with daily gestures of love and service. The immaculate beauty of our Mother is inimitable, <but> at the same time, it attracts us. May this star that shines from today illumine you so that, reciting the beads of the Rosary, you say ‘yes’ once and for all to the Lord’s grace and say a rotund ‘no’ to sin. By praying with Mary we meditate on the mysteries of Jesus’ life, but we also discern the path that He points out to us and we receive the strength to reject the temptations of violence or of immediate profit.

I also join your prayers that, as innumerable roses, appear at Mary’s feet in that lovely Basilica. I pray that each one of you will make Barcelona the most habitable and welcoming for all. I entrust to Mary especially those people that carry out more responsible roles. May the Virgin Mary obtain for you wisdom, promptness in service, and open-mindedness.

May Holy Mary watch over families with Her luminous star. She, making up the Holy Family of Nazareth with the Child Jesus and Saint Joseph, lived situations similar to those of so many families like yours. Gaudí represented them in the portal of hope, expressing with the workmen’s faces, the sufferings, and difficulties that put them in communion with what the Holy Family suffered, the exile to Egypt of so many poor who are seeking a better future or are fleeing from evil — the death of so many innocents, that are united to those of Bethlehem. May the Virgin Mary watch over your homes, over your schools, Universities, offices, businesses, hospitals, prisons. Reciting the chaplet of the Virgin’s sorrows, don’t forget to pray for the poor, the excluded, because they are in God’s heart. And very often we are responsible for their poverty and exclusion. Let us take advantage <of the moment> to examine ourselves to see how much responsibility we have in this regard.

May this lighted star of the Virgin Mary’s spire illumine us also to continue bringing to life the Diocesan Pastoral Plan, radiating the joy of the Gospel everywhere. From your encounter with Christ, may you grow in fraternity, in the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel to young people, in hospitality to the poor and marginalized; from the discernment of one whose ear is very fine to be able to listen to the Spirit and who has a heart that is totally willing to fulfill what He asks of us. Don’t forget the tree, don’t forget the elderly. A tree without roots doesn’t flower. Let us not discard the elderly, they are not discardable material, they are a living memory. From them comes the sap that makes everything grow. Let us help the dialogue between young people and the elderly to transfer that wisdom that will make them grow and flower.

May God bless you and may the Holy Virgin, our Immaculate Mother, take care of you. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester