Tagged: Mary

Celebrating Mary: Our Perfect Guide to Jesus

Now imagine being the giver of this gift and, despite all the help you are willing to give to care for this treasure, the recipient takes the gift and rejects all of your guidance. How would you feel if you saw your gift slowly deteriorate and fall to pieces due...

If I Had Coffee With Mary

I run a lifestyle blog for women called Her Story Goes in which I sometimes interview inspiring women in my community. While the conversation typically revolves around their passions, accomplishments, and daily rituals, I always end on the same question: “If you could have coffee with one woman, living or...

Madonna in Lavender

The Christmas gathering was their annual attempt to foster family warmth and congeniality that seemed mysteriously elusive. It would be safe to say that when the three Parnsley families gathered for the Christmas season, the result wasn’t likely to generate material for a heartwarming Hallmark Channel special. At least…never mind....

Martyr Urged Veneration of Icon

The Icon  In 1968, while the Soviet Union gripped his part of the world, a courageous Redemptorist Ukrainian bishop named Vasyl Velychkovsky, CSsR, wrote a book titled A History of the Miraculous Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. He wrote this book for the centennial of the presentation of...

Treasures of the Heart

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart (Luke 2:19). The most familiar translation of that verse invokes the word  treasured: Mary treasured these things and pondered on them in her heart. It’s a particularly poignant phrase because it resonates in the human experience. No doubt...

Unwavering Eyes

Our Blessed Mother has many titles. One of the most honored is Our Mother of Perpetual Help. This title is associated with the icon that was given to the Redemptorists by Pope Pius IX when he requested the Redemptorist Missionaries to make her known. As a Redemptorist, this icon is...

Honors for Mary in May, June

The Icon In May, the month of Mary, parishes hold special devotions and processions. A special procession inRome with the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help on April 26, 1866, marked the return of that image for public veneration. During the procession, the miraculous icon of Holy Mary of...

Mary, While Sinless, Was Like Us

Believe it or not, before Vatican II, it was generally believed that the Mother of God was not only exempt from original sin but also from the pangs of childbirth, fatigue, doubt, temptation, ignorance, and death. These human experiences, it was reasoned, were a consequence of sin, and Mary was...

Joy in God’s Presence

July-August 2014 When Jesus was asked where the reign of God was to be found, he simply responded that the reign of God is in our midst—in the midst of our families, our faith community, and our neighborhoods—in the midst of our world. The reign of God is especially found...

May-June 2013

The Yes that Changed the World It always amazes me that the Holy Spirit seeks to “renew the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30) by coming to the simple and lowly, to the little, to the frightened, to the least. After these encounters their lives begin to flower, with nothing...


Reform Renewed

0513_C1.jpgA Modern Look at Mary’s Role in the Church

May-June 2013

On this day, O beautiful Mother,

On this day we bring thee our love.

Near thee, Madonna, fondly we hover,

Trusting thy gentle care to prove.

For Catholics of a certain generation, these words represent the best of childhood memories: May crowning, rosary processions, girls in white dresses, and petals strewn as far as the eye could see. For others, it represents the worst of sugary-sweet hymnody: a devotional life divorced from the liturgy of the Church and traditional forms of Marian devotion void of ecumenical sensibility. 

For me, it represents neither. My memories are drawn not to elementary school, but to a local nursing home—Bishop Drumm Retirement Center. I remember going there as a kid to take my grandma to Mass and always seeing Sr. Edith, as old as any of the residents, still pounding away at the organ as best as she could. Her repertoire was limited by age and arthritis, so you could almost bet that at least once each week you’d get a rousing rendition of “On This Day.” It didn’t matter whether it was Tuesday of the fourth week of the year or the second Saturday of Easter. I wasn’t even aware that it was a May-crowning hymn until I entered the novitiate for the Dominicans; then again, before that time I’m not sure I understood exactly what May crowning was.

Modeling Mary: Our Pilgrimage of Faith

The Church made an unexpected statement about the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Second Vatican Council. At this meeting of bishops, Church leaders referred to Mary’s life as a pilgrimage of faith, a theme Blessed John Paul II explored and further developed in his encyclical letter Mother of the Redeemer, as he spoke of the Church’s faith pilgrimage.

This reference to Mary’s faith journey was unexpected because pilgrimage implies movement toward a goal, and prior to the Second Vatican Council, the Church rarely thought of the Virgin Mary as progressing in her faith. This point is important because even the deepest faith does not bring clear knowledge of the ways in which God sustains and accompanies our lives and our world. Blessed John Paul II tells us that faith at times involves a perplexity, a heaviness of heart, such as that described by Saint John of the Cross as a dark night of faith in which our understanding is clouded or tested.