Currents News Staff
Particular devotions of each Pope arouses a certain curiosity among people. They want to know the roots of each devotion and the history behind them.
Pope Francis’ devotion to the Blessed Mother has a very particular explanation, the one that Fr. Alexandre reveals in his book, “She is my Mother.” In it, he expressed his conversation with the Pope. Pope Francis told him that one of the fundamental factors that led him to love the Mother of God was the devotion of the people.
“I believe the people also taught him to love Our Mother. When he made the pilgrimages as a pastor, he participated with young people and discovered that the more we love people, the more we love the way people pray. That’s why he values popular piety so much,” said Father Alexandre Awi Mello, Secretary, Dicastery Laity, Family and Life.
Another place where devotion for the Blessed Mother was deeply instilled was in his own family, thanks to his grandmother and priest Enrique Pozzoli, a close friend of the Bergoglio family.
“He said his grandmother taught him to pray. In fact, that is a part of his history. His love for the Our Lady also grew very spontaneously through his family relationship. He had a Salesian priest who always visited his house. He was the family priest. The priest left an impression on him because the blessing he received from this Salesian priest contained the prayer ‘Sub tuum praesidium.’ So one sees how that family relationship was influencing his devotion to the Blessed Mother,” said Mello.
The prayer “Sub tuum praesidium,” which translates to “We fly to thy patronage,” is the prayer Pope Francis asked all Catholics to pray. He especially asks it during the month of October, to resist the devil’s attacks and attempts to divide the Church.
“When I no longer had questions to ask him, he said, ‘Do not you have any more questions?’ ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘If you had to summarize it very briefly, who is Our Lady for you?’ He told me very tenderly, ‘She is my mom. I think she is the only person with whom I can and I dare to cry,’” said Mello.
Since May 31, 2017, Fr. Alexandre has been the secretary of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, but he has known the pope for years. Through his book, he tries to delve into a deep and personal aspect of Pope Francis’ life that has often gone unnoticed.