Pope at Regina Coeli: May we be joyful proclaimers of the Gospel

On Easter Monday Pope Francis leads the recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer in Saint Peter's Square. He recalls how the women in the Gospel hurry to share the news of the Risen Lord and teach us that we encounter Jesus by witnessing to him.

By Thaddeus Jones

Pope Francis greeted pilgrims in Saint Peter's Square on Easter Monday for the midday recitation of the Regina Coeli prayer, which is said in place of the Angelus during Eastertide from Easter Sunday to the end of Pentecost. The Regina Coeli, Queen of Heaven, recalls Christ’s victory over death.

In reflecting on today's Gospel that recounts the women disciples who find the empty tomb and encounter the Risen Jesus on Easter morning, Pope Francis recalled that they were the first to go to the tomb and became the first bearers of the good news of the resurrection. 

Courage and love

The Pope described how they too like all the disciples were still in mourning after Jesus' suffering and death, but they did not let sadness or fear hold them back from going to the tomb with aromatic ointments to anoint the body of Jesus in a gesture of love and remembrance. And overcoming their fears and sadness with this courage and love is what leads them to encounter the Risen One.

The Lord among us

The discovery of the empty tomb leads the women to hurry and run off to tell the other disciples about this wonderful news, the Pope observed, and then Jesus goes to encounter them as they are on their way. 

“This is beautiful: when we proclaim the Lord, the Lord comes to us.”

Sometimes we might think that keeping God to ourselves is a way to be close to Him, but this can also be out of our own fear that if we speak openly, people might judge, criticize or challenge us and we don't know how to respond, so best to keep it inside. Instead, the Pope explained that our going out to tell others about the Lord, brings the Lord among us. 

“This is what the women teach us: we encounter Jesus by witnessing him.”

Good News alive in us

The Pope then gave an example of how sharing good news brings the news alive in us. The birth of a child is a happy announcement people share with family and friends, and by telling people about it, the good news comes alive in us, he noted. And this happens "infinitely more for Jesus," he explained, who is not only good news, but "life itself, 'the resurrection and the life'." 

“Every time we announce it, not by propaganda or proselytizing, but with respect and love, as the most beautiful gift to share, as the secret of joy, then Jesus dwells in us even more.”

Nothing can stop us from proclaiming the Lord after an encounter with Him, the Pope added, and if we do not share this experience, maybe we have yet to really meet Him. The Pope suggested we ask ourselves when and how we bear witness to Jesus, and if others perceive we have met the Lord and are therefore interested and inspired to know more. 

“Let us ask Our Lady to help us be joyful proclaimers of the Gospel.”


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10 April 2023, 12:20

What is the Regina Coeli?

The antiphon Regina Coeli (“Queen of Heaven”) is one of four traditional Marian antiphons, the others being Alma Redemptoris Mater, Ave Regina Coelorum, and Salve Regina.

It was Pope Benedict XIV who, in 1742, enjoined the recitation of the Regina Coeli in place of the Angelus during Eastertide, that is, from Easter Sunday to the end of Pentecost. It is recited standing as a sign of Christ’s victory over death.

Like the Angelus, the Regina Coeli is said three times a day, at dawn, at noon, and at dusk, in order to consecrate the day to God and the Virgin Mary.

This ancient antiphon arose, according to a pious tradition, in the 6th century; it is attested in documentary sources from the first half of the 13th century, when it was inserted in the Franciscan breviary. It is composed of four short verses, each ending with an “alleluia.” With the Regina Coeli, the faithful turn to Mary, the Queen of Heaven, to rejoice with her at the Resurrection of Christ.

At the Regina Coeli on Easter Monday of 2015, Pope Francis spoke about the spiritual dispositions that should animate the faithful as they recite this Marian prayer:

“In this prayer, expressed by the Alleluia, we turn to Mary inviting her to rejoice, because the One whom she carried in her womb is Risen as He promised, and we entrust ourselves to her intercession. In fact, our joy is a reflection of Mary’s joy, for it is she who guarded and guards with faith the events of Jesus. Let us therefore recite this prayer with the emotion of children who are happy because their mother is happy.”

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