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Rome Reports

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Pilgrims gather in St. Peter's Square at night to pray rosary for peace

Dozens of tiny lights illuminated St. Peter's Square at night held by pilgrims praying the rosary for peace.

Cardinal Angelo Comastri led the prayer.

Also tonight, we pray with insistence that the Lord may grant peace to the world, and we ask Mary that just as she intervened at Cana, she may also intervene now. Oh Virgin, stop them, for the world is on the brink of the abyss.

As they prayed the rosary, the pilgrims present walked next to one of the most famous images of St. Peter's Basilica, the Madonna della Colonna.

This image inspired the one that John Paul II had placed in the square after surviving an assassination attempt on May 13, 1981, as recalled by Cardinal Angelo Comastri.

Remember that while he was being taken to the Gemelli hospital, John Paul II had the strength to say: I forgive the brother who shot me. A few days later he said: while a murderous hand was shooting to kill me, a motherly hand stopped the Pope on the verge of death.

It was a night full of memories, since the day before was the anniversary of the attack.

That's why the cardinal also shared John Paul II's response when asked what Ali Agca, his assailant, told him during the meeting they had in a prison.

Listen to what he told me. As soon as we were alone, Ali Agca said to me: How did you not die? I shot to kill and I am a perfect marksman. Also, the projectile should have hit the heart and it didn't. Why? I said: Holy Father, what did you answer? He said: you must know that above the power of your gun there is the power of God and the motherly hand of Mary. That is why I am here.

The night prayer of the rosary is a unique initiative, because it is not usual that each Saturday in the month of May, St. Peter's Basilica summons pilgrims to pray together.

Throughout this month, however, Pope Francis has been insistent in asking Christians to faithfully say this prayer for peace throughout the world.

In the face of the madness of war, let us continue, please, to pray the rosary for peace every day.