I greet you all with great affection, especially those of you who have travelled far to arrive today, together with the dear brother bishops and priests, at the spiritual capital of the country.
If Częstochowa is at the heart of Poland, it means that Poland has a maternal heart; it means that every step in life takes place together with the Mother of God. You are used to entrusting everything to her: the past, the present, the future, the joys and anguish of your personal life and of that of your beloved country. This is beautiful. And it is beautiful for me to remember doing this with you, last year, when I placed myself under the eye of the Mother, when I looked into the eyes of Our Lady, entrusting to her heart what was in mine, and in yours. I keep a living and grateful memory of those moments, the joy of coming as a pilgrim too, to celebrate, under the gaze of the Mother, the 1050 years since the baptism of Poland.
Another occasion of grace brings you together today in large numbers: three hundred years ago the Pope agreed to place the papal crowns on the image of Our Lady of Jasna Góra, your Queen. It is a great honour to have a Queen as a Mother, the same Queen of the Angels and of the Saints, who reigns glorious in heaven. But it gives even greater joy to know we have a Mother for a Queen, to love as a Mother she we call Our Lady. Indeed, the sacred image shows that Mary is not a distant Queen seated in a throne, but rather the Mother who embraces her Son and, with Him, all of us, her children. She is a true Mother, whose face is lined, a Mother who suffers because she truly takes to heart the problems of our life. She is a Mother who is close to us, who never lets us out of her sight; she is a tender Mother, who takes us by the hand on our journey every day.
This is what I hope you will experience in the solemn Jubilee you are celebrating: may it be a favourable moment to feel that none of us is an orphan, because each person has close by a Mother, an insurmountable Queen of tenderness. She knows us and she accompanies us with her typically maternal style: gentle and courageous at the same time; never intrusive and always steadfast in goodness; patient in the face of evil and active in promoting harmony.
May Our Lady give you the grace to rejoice together, like a family gathered around the Mother. In this spirit of ecclesial communion, made even stronger by the single bond that joins Poland with Peter’s Successor, I give you my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing. And I ask all of you, please, to pray for me. Thank you.