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St. John Paul IIIn the Conclusion of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation ECCLESIA IN OCEANIA, given in Rome at Saint Peter’s, on November 22, 2001,His Holiness Pope John Paul II invites the faithful to join him in turning to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church:

“In times of difficulty and pain, Mary has been an unfailing refuge for those seeking peace and healing. In churches, chapels and homes, the image of Mary reminds people of her loving presence and her maternal protection. In parts of the Pacific region, she is especially venerated under the title of Help of Christians; and the Bishops have proclaimed her as Patroness of Oceania under the title of Our Lady of Peace.

In Jesus Christ, whom she nurtured in her womb, there is born a new world where justice and mercy meet, a world of freedom and peace. Through Christ’s Cross and Resurrection, God has reconciled the world to himself, and he has made the Lord Jesus the Prince of Peace for every time and place. May Mary, Regina Pacis, help the peoples of Oceania to know this peace, and to share it with others! At the dawn of the Third Christian Millennium, may true justice and harmony be God’s gift to Oceania and to all the nations of the world!”

Prayer to Our Lady of Peace

O Mary, Help of Christians,
in our need we turn to you
with eyes of love, with empty hands
and longing hearts.
We look to you that we may see your Son,
our Lord.
We lift our hands that
we may have the Bread of Life.
We open wide our hearts
to receive the Prince of Peace.

Mother of the Church,
your sons and daughters thank you
for your trusting word that echoes
through the ages,
rising from an empty soul made full of grace,
prepared by God to welcome
the Word to the world
that the world itself might be reborn.
In you, the reign of God has dawned,
a reign of grace and peace, love and justice,
born from the depths of the Word made flesh.
The Church throughout the world joins you
in praising him
whose mercy is from age to age.

O Stella Maris, light of every ocean
and mistress of the deep,
guide the peoples of Oceania
across all dark and stormy seas,
that they may reach the haven of peace and light
prepared in him who calmed the sea.
Keep all your children safe from harm
for the waves are high and we are far from home.
As we set forth upon the oceans of the world,
and cross the deserts of our time,
show us, O Mary, the fruit of your womb,
for without your Son we are lost.
Pray that we will never fail on life’s journey,
that in heart and mind, in word and deed,
in days of turmoil and in days of calm,
we will always look to Christ and say,
“Who is this that even wind and sea obey him?”

Our Lady of Peace, in whom all storms grow still,
pray at the dawn of the new millennium
that the Church in Oceania
will not cease to show forth
the glorious face of your Son,
full of grace and truth,
so that God will reign in the hearts
of the Pacific peoples
and they will find peace
in the world’s true Saviour.
Plead for the Church in Oceania
that she may have strength
to follow faithfully the way of Jesus Christ,
to tell courageously the truth of Jesus Christ,
to live joyfully the life of Jesus Christ.

O Help of Christians, protect us!
Bright Star of the Sea, guide us!
Our Lady of Peace, pray for us!

Given in Rome at Saint Peter’s, 22 November 2001, the twenty-fourth of my Pontificate.

JOANNES PAULUS PP. II