Messina that vessel guided by the “divine wind”. Today the procession of the Madonna della Lettera


By John

Two days of celebration, in the name of faith and devotion in the name of the filial bond that Maria formed with the city of Messina in 1603 when, according to popular tradition, struck by a serious famine, she sent a ship loaded with grain across the waters of the Strait. Yesterday was an anniversary, the day of the solemnity of Corpus Dominiwhich he anticipated the Feast of the Patron Saintwith the procession of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of the center escorted by the Sacred Militia of the Greens and preceded, as tradition dictates, by the Vascelluzzo, the precious wooden artefact covered with silver foil dating back to the second half of the 16th century. A procession of shared faith, from the Ceri bearers group and from the Saint Camillus bearers who carried the fercolo on their shoulders, from the sick accompanied by the ladies and stretcher bearers of Unitalsi, from the Confraternities and from the pious associations, from the many faithful who crowded the Cathedral and Piazza Duomo, by the children of the Antonian Institute who prepared the streets by scattering scented petals, by the families who decorated the balconies with red velvet drapes.

A slow journey of prayer and contemplation, marked by three stops for Eucharistic adoration at the Marian icon in Corso Cavour and the altars set up in Via Tommaso Cannizzaro and Via Garibaldi by the communities of the co-cathedral of the Santissimo Salvatore in the Archimandrite and the parishes of Carmine and Santa Caterina, supported by the songs and prayers of the young people of the preparatory course attached to the Seminary. Presiding over the procession and the mass that preceded it, concelebrated by Archbishop Giovanni Accolla and the priests and religious, was the ordinary abbot of the territorial abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore in Tuscany, Diego Gualtiero Rosa; an enriching presence that of the Benedictine monk, supported by the few intense words pronounced in the homily in which he underlined the meaning of the Eucharist, «which contains the meaning of the verb to love understood as gift and service, pushing the Christian to a constant review of life ».
The very long procession, in which the mayor of Messina Federico Basile participated, was coordinated by the municipal and metropolitan police, supported by volunteers from voluntary associations (Diocesan Civil Protection Unit, Accir, Anc, Arp, Castel Gonzaga, Messina Municipal Group , Auxiliary Coast Guard, Mari e Monti 2004, Nova Militia Christi, Pegaso onlus).

Today, solemnity of the Madonna della Lettera, at 11 am the pontifical mass presided over by Abbot Diego Gualtiero Rosa and concelebrated among others by the bishops and priests of Messina. In the afternoon at 6.30 pm the procession of the statue of the Madonna della Lettera which RTP will follow live, starting at 5.50pm. In the evening, at 10.30 pm, the projection on the facade of the Cathedral of the video mapping “Do what he will tell you” and the fireworks show from the Caperrina hill, in the churchyard of the Montalto sanctuary, while in Largo San Giacomo the Madonnari di Sicilia will create a themed mosaic.
To offer a historical and theological study on the “Vascelluzzo”, an extraordinary silver ship, which was immortalized in poetry by the great poet Vann'Antò, Don Roberto Romeo, an attentive theology scholar, teacher and recently archbishop's delegate for the Cathedral Basilica, has published an illustrated essay entitled “In the sign of the Ark”. The Vascelluzzo of Messina “Icon” of the Mother of God”, published by Di Nicolò. This masterpiece, symbol of the tradition of the Peloritan master silversmiths – observes Don Romeo – «exudes a truly special charm, undoubtedly deriving from the enchanting beauty of the work and its link with the history of the city of Messina, but also from its not yet symbolic-religious meanings completely revealed”. The author speaks of a bold perspective, «generated by a deeper reading of the work» not only in a biblical but above all Marian key, linked to Messina “city of Mary” as John Paul II defined it, who cited Vascelluzzo in his speech Messina in June 1988. The vessel, also strongly linked to the Madonna della Lettera, patron saint of the city, therefore depicts “the ark-Mary”, the “All-Holy””, the Virgin-ship who brings with her the “Divine Wisdom” and the ” body of God”, a vessel guided by the divine wind…