ROME, MAY 5, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The rosary is not a "pious practice" to be relegated to the past, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope led the praying of the rosary Saturday at the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Afterward, he addressed a few words to the faithful gathered.
"In the experience of my generation, May evenings evoke pleasant memories of evening appointments to pay homage to the Virgin Mary," the Holy Father said. "Today we together confirm that the holy rosary is not some pious practice relegated to the past, a prayer of distant times to be thought of nostalgically. Indeed, the rosary is experiencing what is almost a new springtime."
The Pontiff affirmed that the rosary can help put Christ at the center of life.
"In the modern world that is so dispersive, this prayer helps us to place Christ at the center, as did the Virgin who meditated upon everything that was said about her Son and upon what he himself did and said," the Pope continued. "When we recite the rosary we relive important monuments of the history of salvation, we again go over the various stages of Christ's mission. With Mary we turn our hearts to the mystery of Jesus.
"May Mary help us to welcome within ourselves the grace that emanates from these mysteries, so that through us, this grace can 'irrigate' society, starting with our everyday relationships, purifying it from many negative forces and opening it to the novelty of God."
Benedict XVI said that the rosary, if prayed well, has many benefits.
"The rosary, when it is prayed in an authentic manner -- not mechanically and superficially, but profoundly -- brings peace and reconciliation," he said. "It contains the healing power of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, invoked with faith and love at the heart of each Hail Mary."
The Pope called on those present to ensure they remain united to Mary during these days leading up to Pentecost, "invoking a renewed effusion of the Holy Spirit for the Church."
Pentecost will be celebrated this Sunday