Category Archives: Blessed Virgin Mary

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Polish mosaicIn actual matters of the liturgical calendar June 27 is reserved for the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, but since we observed the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus yesterday, the Mother of God’s feast is pushed to today (the day following the Sacred Heart is the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary).

Never despair, always ask your mother for help: Mary hearing our pleas brings them to her Son.

The text for our meditation is the second Kontakion for Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Kontakia are poetic texts used during the Byzantine liturgy. The text and image cohere nicely for we remember the words of scripture: Mary is the highest member of our race.

Through the intercession of Mary, may we live according to our baptismal consecration, particularly building up the Mystical Body of Christ.

A merchant of Crete knew of your icon, this precious jewel,
for it was beautiful and famous for many miracles.
He took it from the church,
hid it in his vessel and set out for sea.
O Pure One, you are our most precious treasure;
therefore we go through the sea of life
toward a happy ending, our heavenly city, singing alleluia!

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

visitationToday, the Church celebrates the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the event of Mary visiting her council Elizabeth after the news from the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she was to become the mother of Our Lord. Mary went from Galilee to Judea to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, the soon-to-be the mother of John the Baptist. The biblical narrative is found in Saint Luke 1:39-56.

Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Mary’s  song of praise liturgically called the Magnificat, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”

For us, John the Baptist is the final prophet of the Old Covenant and Jesus the first and the beginning of the eternal New Covenant.

Our Lady of Fatima

Fatima Statue in GuildfordOn May 13, 1917 three Portuguese children –Lucia dos Santos, Francisco and Jacinta Marto – playing at the Cova da Iria in the village of Fatima, saw a beautiful Lady which they described as being dressed in the ‘shining white of the Sun … indescribably beautiful face’. Her folded hands a rosary. The Lady told the children to return to that place every 13 months, promising to take them to heaven. She also asked them to pray the rosary for the intention of reparation of offenses against God and for the conversion of sinners. The children followed the advice.

In the third appearance, on July 13, the Lady asked the children to pray the Rosary for an end to the war and gave them a secret that consisted of three parts: the first was the vision of hell, the second referred to the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the third woman’s vision was flooded with Sun that counter-acts the forces of evil and the persecution of the Church by Governments atheists. “The good will be martyred,” said the Lady, “the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various Nations will be annihilated. Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and the world will be granted a period of peace.”

On October 13, about 60,000 people in attendance saw the Sun spinning, known as “the Miracle of the Dancing Sun,” was seen as fast as a gigantic wheel of fire and dash zig-zagged across the sky. The whole thing lasted about ten minutes, then the globe returned to the point from which it was dropped.
Mary renewed her call to penance and prayer, commending devotion and consecration of persons to her immaculate heart.
It must be noted that on this date in 1981 the Turkish citizen Ali Agca shot Pope John Paul II. The bullet was deflected and the Pope later traveled to Fatima embedding that bullet in the Crown of the Virgin.
Francisco and Jacinta Marto, died in 1919 and 1920, were beatified on 13 May 2000. Lucia became a Carmelite nun and died on February 13, 2005 at 97 years old.
Tonight, at St George Church in Guilford, CT about 150 gathered for Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the rosary and a procession with the Fatima statue on the town green (the pic above). The unique thing about this procession at St George’s is that it’s likely the only parish in the Archdiocese of Hartford, indeed in New England, located on a town green (in a former very Protestant area).

Nine Month Novena in Honor of the Virgin of the Incarnation

Annunciation AAllori 1603A friend of mine sent me an invitation to join her and others in praying this novena. It was given to her by a mutual friend a decade ago. Julie reports “each year, I am overwhelmed by the reports of the novenas prayed and the amazing prayers answered. Please seriously consider praying this quick prayer with me for the next nine months. I promise you: it will revolutionize your relationship with Our Lady, and your prayers will be heard and answered.”

Julie has confidence in the regular prayers of the novena when she says:

If you do take it on, I further promise you: you will likely fail.  You’ll forget a day; you might forget several days.  Do what you must to remind yourself—stick the prayer to your bathroom mirror, and pray it while you’re brushing your teeth! Place it by your bed, inside or on top of something that you will look at every night. If (WHEN) you fail, then simply double up, or say it five extra times, if it makes you feel better. Whatever! Just do NOT give up.  Run to your Mother, confide in her, and be certain that she won’t disown you when you fall down. God bless you and thank  you for praying with me!

I am doing the same here: please join me in this sacrifice of prayer.

Nine Month Novena in Honor of the Virgin of the Incarnation

Prayed each day from the Solemnity of the Annunciation the Solemnity of the Nativity, March 25 – December 25. In this novena offer to Our Lady three intentions.

  • Salve Regina (the Hail, Holy Queen…)

O Virgin of the Incarnation, a thousand times we praise thee, a thousand times we greet thee, for the joy thou didst know when the Son of God became flesh in thy womb. Because thou art most powerful, O Virgin Mother of God, grant what we beseech thee for the love of God:  (here name the three intentions).

  • Memorare (Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary…)
  • Hail Mary

May the heart of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored and loved with grateful affection at every moment in all the tabernacles of the world and in the hearts of all men, even until the end of time.  Amen.

Earliest icon of the Annunciation

I love early Christian history. Don’t you? In fact, I have enjoyed time spent in the various musea, locally and notably here in New Haven, Connecticut at the Yale Art Museum where there is a marvelous exposition of Dura Europus, one of the earliest house churches. But there are marvelous early collections at the world’s musea. I’d suggest going on a study tour. The study of our early Christian roots is about our common Christian memory.

I saw this icon today in cyberspace making the historic claim of being the oldest surviving icon of the Annunciation. A terrific find! The icon is located in the Catacomb of Priscilla on theVia Salaria in Rome. This icon dates from the second century AD.

Several years ago I had the privilege of walking and praying in one of the catacombs but not this one. Historians of Christian archeology say that the Roman catacombs are treasuries of early iconography.

For more info on this early icon of the Annunciation is located here.

One of the interesting comments made is “One difference between this depiction of the Annunciation and later icons is that the Mother of God is shown with her head uncovered. In Rome, young virginal maidens would always have their heads uncovered, and so the imagery is in keeping with the Christian beliefs regarding Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. The veil worn in the East would come to dominate iconography of the Mother of God in later centuries.”

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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