Francis suggests that we can add an advocation to Mary's many titles: Our Lady of Haste, because she comes whenever we call her ... "She hurries, because she is Mother"
Pope Francis’ moving prayer marked his stopover at the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima on August 5, 2023, the fourth day of his World Youth Day trip to Portugal. Without specifying the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the Pope prayed the Rosary with sick young people, while the local bishop called on the faithful to join in the Pontiff’s prayer for peace.
During his five-day trip to Portugal, the 86-year-old Pope made a point of heading to the famous shrine, which he had already visited in 2017 for the centenary of the Marian apparitions to the three young shepherds Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia, on the hills of the Cova da Iria. On that occasion, he canonized Francisco and Jacinta; Lucia, who died only in 2005, has just been recognized as venerable.
The Head of the Catholic Church took off at 8 am in a military helicopter, flying the 120 kilometers (75 miles) between Lisbon and Fatima. After a 30-minute flight, he was greeted by the bells of the sanctuary, whose steeple stood out against the orange-gray glow of a sky tinted by a fire a few dozen kilometers away.
Crisscrossing the esplanade in his papamobile, the Pope met a warm crowd of 200,000, among whom he blessed a large number of children. In the Chapel of the Apparitions, a building open onto the square, the Pontiff recollected himself in prayer before the statue of the Virgin Mary, during a long period of silence, while ashes continued to rain down on the crowd.
The 266th Pope then presented the Virgin with a golden rosary, before reciting the rosary in several languages with sick young people. As the mysteries were recited – including one in Italian by a young woman who demonstrated a touching ability to articulate despite her speech impediment – the Argentine Pontiff, himself very attached to the Virgin of Fatima, made no secret of his emotion.
The Pope then improvised a short catechesis in Spanish on the Virgin Mary, without mentioning the prayer for peace. Earlier, however, José Ornelas Carvalho, Bishop of Fatima and President of the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference, had urged in his greeting that the faithful associate themselves with the Pope’s prayer “for peace, […] thinking in particular of the war in Ukraine and so many other hotbeds of conflict in the world.”
There are so many titles of Mary, the Pope said:
… but one that we can say, thinking about her, is this: The Virgin makes haste — every time there is a problem, every time we invoke her, she doesn’t delay. She comes, she hurries. “Our Lady of Haste.” Do you like that? Let us say it all together. Our Lady of Haste. She hastens to be close to us. She hurries, because she is Mother.
On March 25, 2022, a month after the outbreak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pope Francis consecrated Russia, Ukraine, and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in St. Peter’s Basilica. This consecration is inextricably linked with Fatima, since in the midst of the First World War, the Virgin Mary appeared and asked that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart.