Tag Archives: Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

OL Perpetual Help and Pius IXThe image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help measures around 50 centimeters (25 inches) high. It is in the Byzantine style, painted on wood with a gold leaf background. The Virgin is there with Her divine Child; each of them has a golden halo. Two Angels, one on the right and the other on the left, present the instruments of the Passion to the Child Jesus who is frightened, whereas the Blessed Virgin looks at the pathetic scene with calm, resigned sorrow.

The image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help had long been venerated on the Isle of Crete. The inhabitants of that island, fleeing a Turkish invasion, took it with them to Rome. By the invocation of Mary under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the ship transporting Her holy image was saved from a terrible storm.

On March 27, 1499, the portrait of the Virgin of Perpetual Help was carried in triumph through the streets of Rome. Preceded by the clergy and followed by the people, it was placed over the main altar of St. Matthew’s church, near St. Mary Major. Thanks to the care of the Augustinian friars, the holy image became the object of a very popular devotion which God rewarded for several centuries with many miracles.

During the disturbances of the French Revolution (1789-1793), the French troops occupying Rome destroyed St. Matthew’s church. One of the friars serving in that sanctuary had the time to secretly remove the miraculous Madonna. He hid it so well that for sixty years, no one knew what had become of the famous painting.

God permitted a concourse of providential circumstances which led to rediscovery of the venerated image. In 1865, in order to return the holy picture to the same spot it had been prayed to before, Pius IX gave orders to have it taken to the Esquiline Hill, in St. Alphonsus Liguori’s church, built on the site of old St. Matthew’s. On April 26, 1866, the Redemptorists solemnly enthroned Our Lady of Perpetual Help in their chapel.

From that time on, thanks to the zeal of the sons of Saint Alphonsus and the countless miracles obtained in their pious sanctuary, devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help has had an extraordinary development. To acknowledge and perpetuate the remembrances of these precious favors, the Vatican Chapter crowned the holy image in great pomp on June 23, 1867.

In 1876, Pope Pius IX erected an Archconfraternity in St. Alphonsus’ church under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Today the Blessed Virgin is invoked by this name throughout the Western Church.

(Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l’année, Mame: Tours, 1950, pp. 463-464 – Brothers of Christian Schools, 1932 ed., p. 483.)

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!

Novena to Our Lady grows over 18 years at Our Lady of Pompeii Church, East Haven

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 of Perpetual Help

OL Perpetual Help2.jpg

Mother of Perpetual Help, you have been blessed and favored by God. You became not only the Mother of the Redeemer but the Mother of the redeemed as well. We come to you today as your loving children. Watch over us and take care of us. As you held the child Jesus in your loving arms, so take us in your arms. Be a mother ready at every moment to help us. For God who is mighty has done great things for you, and His mercy is from age to age on those who love Him. Our greatest fear is that in time of temptation, we may fail to call out to you, and become lost children. Intercede for us, dear Mother, in obtaining pardon for our sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance, and the grace always to call upon you, Mother of Perpetual Help.

Blessing of Icons

Over the Christmas holiday I acquired an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, written by Brother Terrence McGrath, OCSO, a monk of Saint Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts. In the tradition of the Catholic Church, all icons (religious objects intended for devotion) ought to be properly blessed. The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy teaches us:

The Church blesses sacred images because of their cultic significance. This is especially true of the images of the Saints which are destined for public veneration, when she prays that, guided by a particular Saint, “we may progress in following the footsteps of Christ, so that the perfect man may be formed in us to the full measure of Christ.” (244)

Today, Father Michael Morris, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York and history professor of Saint Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie-Yonkers, NY) properly blessed the icon.

The Blessing of Icons follows:

Priest:   Blessed is our God always, both now and ever, and unto ages of ages:

Server: Amen.

Priest: Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon us.


Fr MMorris blessing BVM Icon Jan 14 2010.jpg

O Lord our God, Who created us after Your own image and likeness; Who redeems us from our former corruption of the ancient curse through Your man-befriending Christ, Who took upon Himself the form of a servant and became man; Who having taken upon Himself our likeness remade Your Saints of the first dispensation, and through Whom also we are refashioned in the image of Your pure blessedness; Your Saints we venerate as being in Your image and likeness, and we adore and glorify You as our Creator; Wherefore we pray You, send forth Your blessing upon this Icon, and with the sprinkling of hallowed water.

Bless and make holy this icon untoYour glory, in honor and remembrance of Your Saint (N) [or, Mother of God]; And grant that this sanctification will be to all who venerate this icon of Saint (N) [or, Mother of God], and send up their prayer unto You standing before it; Through the grace and bounties and love of Your Only-Begotten Son, with Whom You are blessed together with Your All-Holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit; both now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

 Server:  Amen.

Sprinkling cross fashion the icon with holy water, he says:

Hallowed and blessed is this icon of St. (N) [or, Mother of God], by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, through the sprinkling of Holy Water: in the Name of the Father (+), and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: (+), Amen.

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

Server: Kyrie eleison.


O God our Savior, Who did deign to enter under the roof of Zacchaeus, unto salvation of the same and of all that were in the house; Do you, the same Lord, keep safe also from harm them who now desire to dwell here, And who, together with us unworthy ones, do offer unto You prayer and supplication: Bless this (+) their home and dwelling, and preserve their life free from all adversity; For unto You are due all glory, honor and worship, as also unto Your Eternal Father, and Your All Holy, Good and life-creating Spirit; both now and ever, and unto ages of ages:

Server:  Amen.

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]yahoo.com.
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