Blessed Virgin Mary: May 2013 Archives


The generosity of the young Virgin Mother of our Savior is honored today. As the prayer below says, Mary was moved by the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we also ought to make God's greatness known, loved and imitated.

On this feast I want to pray for 4 things:

1. for Giovannimaria, 7, who died yesterday after a prolonged illness;

2. for my friend Fr Edward Oakes, SJ, who was recently diagnosed Type-4 pancreatic and liver cancer;

3. for the Order of the Visitation

4. for those who need visit from a person and who lives a lonely existence.

Mary tells us of God's mercy given to all generations.

With the Church we pray,

Almighty ever-living God, who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was carrying your Son in her womb, inspired her to visit Elizabeth, grant us, we pray, that, faithful to the promptings of the Spirit, we may magnify your greatness with the Virgin Mary at all times.

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Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory:that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church.

Mother of the beauty that blossoms from fidelity to daily work, remove us from the torpor of laziness, of pettiness, and defeatism. Cloak Pastors with that compassion that unifies and integrates: that we might discover the joy of a humble and fraternal servant Church.

Mother of the tenderness which enfolds in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who have not known what it means to belong.

Intercede with your Son that our hands, our feet and our hearts may be swift: that we may build the Church with the truth in charity.

Mother, we will be the People of God, on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom. Amen.

Pope Francis

23 May 2013

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Today is the day that Benedict XVI designated to be a World Day of Prayer for China, particularly our Chinese Christian brothers and sisters. The Catholics in China, indeed, all Christians in China have not been respected for the their belief in Jesus Christ and His sacrament, the Church. Pope Francis has reminded us of this act of charity. 

At Wednesday's General Audience in Rome, Francis recalled that under the patroness of Our Lady, Help of Christians, we go to God. 

The Chinese Catholics venerate under the title of Our Lady of Sheshan, Shanghai.

Pope Francis said:

I urge all Catholics around the world to join in prayer with our brothers and sisters who are in China, to implore from God the grace to proclaim with humility and joy Christ, who died and rose again; to be faithful to His Church and the Successor of Peter and to live everyday life in service to their country and their fellow citizens in a way that is consistent with the faith they profess.

Making our own a few words of prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan, together with you I would like to invoke Mary: Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus.

Mary, Virgin most faithful, support Chinese Catholics, render their commitments, which are not easy, more and more precious in the eyes of the Lord, and nurture the affection and the participation of the Church in China in the journey of the Universal Church."

Benedict XVIs prayer for today, inaugurated in 2008 for the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians; 
Our Lady of Sheshan, states:

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Saint Simon Stock

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Saint Simon was the English Carmelite Superior General of the Carmelite Order (†1265) who is most remembered for receiving from the Blessed Virgin the brown scapular with a promise that one is not lost at death if wearing the scapular. Stock was a hymn writer, a good leader and a man of sanctity, whom the Church recognized soon after his death. The liturgical offices were approved by the Church in the 15th century.

It is said that Simon heard the Mother of God say,

Hoc erit tibi et cunctis Carmelitis privilegium, in hoc habitu moriens salvabitur.

(This shall be the privilege for you and for all the Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall be saved.)

The bestowal of the scapular was given to the Carmelite friars alone but now any priest can bless and enroll someone in the scapular. The brown scapular is associated with the Carmelite friars with the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The brown scapular is one 18 approved scapulars worn in devotion.

There is a lot of pious legend about today's saint, but there are some things that we are reasonably sure about. The Bollandists write the following of Saint Simon Stock:

Saint Simon Stock was born of one of the most illustrious Christian families of England, at the castle of Harford in 1164. Certain prodigies marked him, while an infant in the cradle, as a soul chosen by the Mother of God for Her own. Not yet one year old, he was heard to say the Angelic Salutation distinctly, before he had reached the age to learn it. As soon as he could read he began to recite the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, and he would never cease to do so daily. He read Holy Scripture on his knees at the age of six. He became the object of the jealous persecution of one of his brothers, and at the age of twelve determined to leave and go to live in a forest.

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Our Lady of Fatima

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Today is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Cardinal Polycarpo and the bishops of Portugal join together at the famous shrine to the Blessed Mother to dedicate the papacy of Pope Francis to her. This gesture of devotion has been done for the last several popes entrusting all things of the papal office to the Maternal guidance and protection of the Mother of God. Today is also the anniversary of the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II in 1981. Let's add the intention of peace and charity to those of the Pope, the bishop, the pastor of our parish and family. Here is an Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (do it today).

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O Mary, Virgin most powerful and Mother of mercy, Queen of Heaven and Refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to thine Immaculate Heart.

We consecrate to thee our very being and our whole life; all that we have, all that we love, all that we are.

To thee we give our bodies, our hearts and our souls; to thee we give our homes, our families, our country.

We desire that all that is in us and around us may belong to thee, and may share in the benefits of thy motherly benediction.

And that this act of consecration may be truly efficacious and lasting, we renew this day at thy feet the promises of our Baptism and our first Holy Communion.

We pledge ourselves to profess courageously and at all times the truths of our holy Faith, and to live as befits Catholics who are duly submissive to all the directions of the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him.

We pledge ourselves to keep the commandments of God and His Church, in particular to keep holy the Lord's Day.

We likewise pledge ourselves to make the consoling practices of the Christian religion, and above all, Holy Communion, an integral part of our lives, in so far as we shall be able so to do.

Finally, we promise thee, O glorious Mother of God and loving Mother of men, to devote ourselves whole-heartedly to the service of thy blessed cult, in order to hasten and assure, through the sovereignty of thine Immaculate Heart, the coming of the kingdom of the Sacred Heart of thine adorable Son, in our own hearts and in those of all men, in our country and in all the world, as in heaven, so on earth. Amen.

English: A more recent and accurate picture of...
The beauty of devotion is the fidelity with which we live in relation to the person receiving love and affection. This is true, I believe, whether its one's devotion is a friend, a wife, a child or a priest; so much so for the Blessed Virgin Mary, the most holy and blessed Mother of the Lord. Devotion is about affection for the presence of another. Devotion (piety in the true sense of the definition) is born of an experience of the maternal affection for Mary, Mother of God, Mother of Perpetual Help. This experience, I suggest, is what sparked two women and a priest that is now touching the hearts of Catholic faithful from the greater New Haven area to start a Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help 18 years ago. Think of gentle prayers and love of a few now grown to more than 200 people on the 9th Wednesday.

Judy Esposito and Carol Scussel with longtime now deceased pastor, Father Dennis Hussey, and through the years with the assistance of  subsequent pastors of Our Lady of Pompeii Church (East Haven, CT) have formed the hearts and minds of many to prayerfully encounter the sweetness and beauty of Mary's perpetual tenderness. Father John Lavorgna, current pastor of the parish, with many others, have dedicated a good amount of energy to provide the space to pray. Each of the weeks had a different preacher who also led the prayers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Read Mary Chalupsky article in the Catholic Transcript, "Novena to Our Lady grows over 18 years." Be sure to look at the photo gallery.
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Our Lady Health of the Roman Peoples.jpgMay is devoted to Mary, the Mother of God. 

Our Marian devotion is manifested through praying the Rosary and the Litany of Loreto, May Crowning, celebrating some aspect of Mary's place in salvation history. All that is said of Mary is really speaking of Jesus Christ.  

Today, Pope Francis went to the papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major to pray the rosary. This is his second visit to the Marian shrine. The Marian icon of Mary Health of the Roman Peoples normally is in the Pauline Chapel at Saint Mary Major. For Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola celebrated his first Mass on Christmas eve morning in 1538, following his priestly ordination because of the presence of the relic of the Lord's manger because he could not go to Bethlehem. It took Ignatius 18 months to celebrate his first Mass.

As a personal note, I make it a point to visit each of the four papal basilicas, each for a particular reason. Besides the obvious, I also make a good confession at the Liberian Basilica because of this devotion of Loyola's to the Incarnation.

The Pope, in his reflection, said that Mary maternally guide us as her children to be more and more in union with her Son, Jesus. Mary always points to Jesus. We ask Mary bring us the gift of good health because of her tenderness for us as a mother. Tenderness for ourselves is terrific grace given to us through Mary's intercession and therefore she is our saving grace. Always remember that Mary doesn't act in her own name but only in relation to her Son and Our Lord.
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One World, One Mother

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"One World, One Mother" is presenting the 3rd Annual Madonnas of the World Procession in the Archdiocese of New York on Saturday, 18 May 2013. See the advertisement below.
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By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ.  For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother.  By her belief and obedience, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, as the new Eve she brought forth on earth the very Son of the Father, showing an undefiled faith, not in the word of the ancient serpent, but in that of God's messenger. The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, namely the faithful, in whose birth and education she cooperates with a maternal love.

Second Vatican Council 

Lumen gentium

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Blessed Virgin Mary category from May 2013.

Blessed Virgin Mary: April 2013 is the previous archive.

Blessed Virgin Mary: July 2013 is the next archive.

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