Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, pilgrims present here,
At this 7th International Day of Prayer honoring the Lady of All Nations I may extend to you a heartfelt welcome on behalf of the Foundation and the Community, the Family of Mary.
In being here, you are fulfilling a wish of the Lady of All Nations, that each year the nations may be gathered around this image. This was especially intended for here in Amsterdam, the place where the majority of the Marian apparitions took place from 1945 to 1959.
There are days of prayer in a few countries to pray to Mary, the Lady of All Nations; here however, it is on a special scale. The whole world is represented here and many nations as the procession of flags at the beginning of mass will attest.
Welcome and thanks go out to all the many pilgrims who have come here from afar, sometimes with great difficulty. But we all are called by Mary, the Lady and Mother of us all. A special welcome goes to the more than 20 bishops from around the world who have come here for Mary and who want to encourage the veneration of the Lady of All Nations in their own lands and dioceses by, first of all, spreading out the prayer.
Saturday was chosen this year to be able to give also priests the possibility to be here. The theme of the previous Day of Prayer was “The Power of Prayer”, or better said, the power of the prayer of Amsterdam in that we pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Now, this day falls under the theme: “Living Love to the Extreme” and also shows us how Mary wants to be the mother for everyone as the Lady of All Nations and how through that she brings unity and peace.
We want to pray together here with Protestant and Orthodox Christians and also with Jews and Muslims for peace in the world.
Exactly 60 years ago, on March 25, the apparitions began in a world full of war, in a city where Anne Frank lived, in a world that also then yearned for peace. In this month, let us also remember those who died in concentration camps or on the field of battle. (On May 5 “Liberation Day” is celebrated, when the Allied forces freed the Netherlands.)
In looking back at the events of the past years, one could be inclined to become pessimistic finding war, violence, and degeneration everywhere anew.
Also the great natural disasters can be a call to reflection for people. We can speak of a world that is in great distress, but above all in spiritual distress wherever degeneration, disaster, and war still reign.
In our times, the world yearns for quiet, security, and ultimately, for peace.
Mary shows us the way to that. In 1946, right after the Second World War, she showed herself as a mother with her child on her lap and said, “First back to Him, only then will there be true peace.”
In our time which is characterized by many wars and unrest, so many people of all confessions yearn for true peace throughout the world.
Be the past year has positive sides as well. The great worldwide participation in the illness, dying, and death of Pope John Paul II made signs of unity visible. He prayed and worked his whole life long for peace.
We also know that his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, strives for truth and unity. Let us pray also for him that the Holy Spirit inspires him and gives him strength.
In conclusion, we want to look back 100 years. It was in 1905 that Ida Peerdeman was born in Alkmar on August 13. Mary appeared to her from 1945 to 1959, revealing herself as the Lady of All Nations and giving her the messages. Special attention will be given to her life at a later date in this year.
In May, 2002, the Bishop of Haarlem proclaimed that the apparitions are of supernatural origin.
We are now in the days when Mary prayed together with the Apostles, between the Ascension and Pentecost: let us ask Mary, the Lady of All Nations, to help us prepare the way for peace through the coming of the Holy Spirit, that a new Pentecost will be given to us.