On 4 October 1962,
Blessed John XXIII came as a pilgrim to this Shrine to
entrust to the Virgin Mary the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, due to
begin a week later. On that occasion, with deep filial devotion to the Mother
of God, he addressed her in these words: “Again today, and in the name of the
entire episcopate, I ask you, sweetest Mother, as Help of Bishops, to intercede for me as Bishop of Rome and for all
the bishops of the world, to obtain for us the grace to enter the Council Hall
of Saint Peter’s Basilica, as the Apostles and the first disciples of Jesus
entered the Upper Room: with one heart, one heartbeat of love for Christ and
for souls, with one purpose only, to live and to sacrifice ourselves for the
salvation of individuals and peoples. Thus, by your maternal intercession, in
the years and the centuries to come, may it be said that the grace of God
prepared, accompanied and crowned the twenty-first Ecumenical Council, filling
all the children of the holy Church with a new fervour, a new impulse to
generosity, and a renewed firmness of purpose” (AAS 54 , 727).
O blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Walsingham, Mother
of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon us, our
parish [our monastery], our country, our homes, and our families, and upon all
who greatly hope and trust in your prayers, (especially…). By you it was that
Jesus, our Savior and Hope, was given to the world; and He has given you to us
that we may hope still more. Plead for us your children, whom you did receive
and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our
separated brother and sisters, that with us in the one true fold they may be
united to the Chief Shepherd, the Vicar of your Son. Pray for us all, dear
Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may be made worthy to see and
praise God, together with you in our heavenly home. Amen.
Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To you do we cry
poor banished children of Eve. To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping
in this valley of tears. Turn then, O most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy
toward us and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your
O clement! O loving! O sweet Virgin Mary!
The narrative of this feast of Our Lady has its origin in the devotion of Saint Peter Nolasco in the late 12th century France. Father Paul Haffner tells us more here.
The feast of Our Lady of Mercy is close to the heart of the Sisters of Mercy of Alma, and those who have an awareness of the role of Mercy in life.
May Our Lady of Mercy be with us, pray for us.
The Virgin Mary, who believed in the word of the Lord,
did not lose her faith in God when she saw her Son rejected, abused and
crucified. Rather she remained beside Jesus, suffering and praying, until the
end. And she saw the radiant dawn of His Resurrection. Let us learn from her to
witness to our faith with a life of humble service, ready to personally pay the
price of staying faithful to the Gospel of love and truth, certain that nothing
that we do will be lost.