To dry faces streaked with the tears of physical or spiritual suffering and to bring them consolation: this is the purpose of the Prayer Vigil To Dry the Tears, at which Pope Francis will preside on 5 May at 18:00 in Saint Peter’s Basilica. All those suffering interiorly are invited to receive spiritual comfort.
This Jubilee event aims at being a visible sign of the merciful hand of the Father extended to dry the tears of a mother or father who have lost a child; or of a child who has lost a parent; of someone who is fighting sickness; of someone who is out of work and cannot find a job; of someone who lives in a situation of family discord; of someone who feels alone because they are elderly; of someone who suffer from an existential uneasiness; of someone who has suffered an injustice, or of someone who cannot find the sense of his or her life, or who has lost it. The sufferings—large or small—that every person carries inside are many and varied, but they all have in common that they bring “a struggle” to life and, often, a lack of hope and faith.
Consoling the afflicted, one of the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy, is the heart of this important Jubilee event aimed at everyone, but in particular at those who feels themselves deeply in need of a word of support, strength and consolation.
During the Vigil the reliquary of Our Lady of Tears of Syracuse will be displayed for the veneration of the faithful in Saint Peter’s Basilica. This reliquary is linked to the extraordinary phenomenon that occurred between 29 August and 1 September, 1953, when a small plaster picture depicting the Immaculate Heart of Mary, hung above the bed of a young married couple, Angelo Iannuso and Antonina Giusto, shed human tears. The reliquary contains part of the tears that flowed miraculously from the image of Our Lady.
The tears of Mary are a sign of her maternal love and her participation in the lives of her children: this is why they will be in the Basilica during the Vigil, as if to encourage, console, sustain and guide those in times of trial to entrust themselves to the Virgin Mary without reserve, with the confidence of children, particularly in this month dedicated to her.