Nearly 12,000 pilgrims packed the small square outside the Papal Residence at Castel Gandolfo, for Pope Francis Mass for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Pope Francis emerged behind the iconic doors that closed off the papacy of his predecessor Benedict XVI, to a makeshift altar, wearing a simple tunic and stoll. His homily focused on the contributions of Our Lady to the Church.
"Through the light of this beautiful icon, of our mother, we can analyze the message inside the today's biblical readings. We can focus on three words, struggle, resurrection, hope.”
The first term, according to Pope Francis, addresses the inherent struggle between good and evil, and how Our Lady plays an important role in guiding the world along this struggle.
"Mary joins us, she fights at our side. She supports Christians in the fight against the forces of evil. Especially through prayer, through the rosary. Hear me out, the rosary... Do you pray the Rosary each day? I don't know, are you sure? There we go!”
The Pope continued saying that Our Lady had shared in the struggles of her son, Jesus Christ. She suffered along with him, and so when Jesus resurrected, she was also given redemption.
"Our Mother, we can add, represents us. she is our Sister, our first Sister to be granted redemption and taken to Heaven.”
Because of her suffering and redemption, Our Lady is also the most iconic image of hope, Pope Francis said. She is close to those who suffer throughout the world, and she provides them the hope to overcome their struggle.
The Pope ended the Mass with the Angelus. He remained at Castel Gandolfo for the day. After a private visit to a local parish, he returned to the Vatican.