The Queenship of Mary: 6 Blog Posts on the Marian Feast

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is one of the many Marian feasts of the Catholic Church, and a topic, just like the Assumption, I have written about quite often on here. Below you will find links to the 6 blog posts on the Queenship of Mary, some that come from my weekly series – “Mondays with Mary.”

I hope you enjoy them, learn from them, and share them with others. They are listed from the most recent to the first one I wrote in August 2012.

1. “Mondays with Mary” – The Queen of Mercy

2. Blessed John Paul II (now Pope St. JP 2) on the Queenship of Mary

3.  The Queenship of Mary: Advocate, Co-Redemptrix, and Mediatrix  

4. “Mondays with Mary” – If Jesus Christ is the King; then is Mary the Queen?

5. “Mondays with Mary” – The Queenship of Mary

6.  “Mondays with Mary”: John the Apostle, Mother I Beseech You

O Theotokos and Advocating Queen Mother…Pray for All Christians and All of Humanity.

5 Books Catholic Students in College Need To Possess

As students enter their freshman year or return to their respective universities, I think there are 5 books Catholic Students in College Need to Possess. You might be asking yourself, are there really only five books? With all the great books in the world, you’re only picking five of them? We all know there other good books out there, but this is a good place to start.

These books can help a student when they face persecution from non-Catholics on what Catholics believe. As I told my high school students at Savio three years ago, once you make the Sign of the Cross in a university dining hall or food court, someone is going to ask you – why did you do that and what does it mean?

Defending the Catholic faith is called Apologetics. It’s not about apologizing for being Catholic, although some may want that from you. The word apologetic comes from the Greek term, apologia, which means “to defend.” The best way to defend your faith is to know your faith. Seek out avenues of good formation and catechesis that are faithful to the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Book #2) is the best source for those teachings.

Mary, a former student of mine from the Savio Class of 2012 and now in her third year of college explains what she encountered during her freshman year in college,

“It was usually always to other Christians, not atheists or people of other religions. I was in a Christian sorority and the non-denominational, Baptist, or Protestant girls just couldn’t wrap their minds around the Catholic faith and my beliefs…The Christians girls I knew so desperately wanted me to be “saved”…I had to explain I had already been baptized and “saved”…One belief the girls never understood was my devotion to Mary. They kept on saying, “Jesus is enough, we don’t need Mary…those were the most frustrating conversations, when I had to tell people over and over again.”

5 Books Every Catholic Student NeedsKnowing all of this, let’s now turn to the 5 Books Catholic Students in College Need To Possess -

1. The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. Most non-Catholics believe that Catholics don’t read the Holy Bible. It is a terrible assumption and one that needs to be corrected immediately. The Catholic Church compiled the books of the Bible in the 4th century. It’s because of the Church that we have the Canon. As Catholics, we have 73 books in the Bible. We did not add books to the Bible; the Protestant Reformers subtracted them.

The Sacred Scriptures (along with Sacred Tradition) are held in high-esteem for Catholics. Throughout Holy Mass/Divine Liturgy, there are hundreds of Scripture passages. Read the Bible, know the Bible, and live the Bible…always through the eyes of the Catholic Church. “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” – St. Jerome

2. The Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) is one of the greatest works of Catholic theology in recent memory. It is divided into four parts: The Profession of Faith, The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, Life in Christ, and Christian Prayer. The CCC is the tool for the New Evangelization! Developed by Pope Saint John Paul II and a Commission of Cardinals and Bishops in 1986, it was promulgated on October 11, 1992. The CCC is the menu guide to the Catholic faith. Every Catholic should own a copy and read it!

3. Butler’s Lives of the Saints/Introduction to Mary. Although these are essentially two books, I am counting them as one at this time since Mary and the Saints are so closely united. First, during their own life times, the Saints read the Lives of the Saints for the same reason we need to read them. They found their lives to be important as well as examples of how to live a holy life while on this earth. The Saints are our brothers and sisters in Christ who are now in the presence of God eternally. Make sure you purchase the most recent published book on the Saints. Many saints have been canonized in recent years.

Second, the book, Introduction to Mary, is a fantastic read. One of the major arguments that most non-Catholics can’t understand is the Catholic Church’s love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Chapter 10 will help you immensely! As you read from Mary’s testimony above, she encountered this argument the most out of everything. It was written to be a high school textbook, so it’s relatively easy to comprehend.

4. Praying in the Presence of Our Lord. Most of the books I have presented so far will provide valuable information, however this book, written by one of today’s living saints, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., will give you words and encouragement to make the time to attend Eucharistic Adoration at your local Newman Center/Catholic Center. It’s small enough to fit into your back pocket or a small purse. Fr. Groeschel gives you great prayers for Eucharistic Adoration as well as some writings from the saints on the Holy Eucharist.

5. Man’s Search For Meaning. The only book in the list that is not specifically Catholic. Written by Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning is a life-changing book. It will help you grow as a human being and to always remember there is hope even in the most desperate of situations. You can’t read this book soon enough! Reading this during the your college years will assist as you leave college and enter the working world.

As college students, I would encourage you to get involved in the Newman Center/Catholic Center at your university. It will help you to grow in your faith. It should also provide the avenue to establish good, healthy, and holy friendships for your college years. See the website, the Newman Connection for a list of centers at universities in the country.

As a disclaimer, these are books that a student should own in case they need to defend their Catholic faith. They don’t need to be read at this very moment. When your professor gives reading assignments, use common sense and read your assignments. Grades are important. If your Newman Center or university offers Eucharistic Adoration, that’s a good place to read these texts.

This blog post is dedicated to the St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School Classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014. Especially those who are attending my graduate school alma mater, Franciscan University of Steubenville

“Mondays with Mary” – The Queen of Mercy

With the memorial of the Queenship of Mary being celebrated by the Latin lung of the Catholic Church this Friday, I found it fitting to provide a blog post on Mary’s role as Queen Mother. Like the Assumption of Mary, Her role as Queen Mother, Advocate, and Mediatrix are themes I have written about before on this blog in the weekly series, “Mondays with Mary” over the past two and a half years.

This except on the Mary as the Queen of Mercy comes from the text, The Glories of Mary, written by St. Alphonsus Ligouri. This is the third week in a row I have drawn from this fantastic text written by the Doctor of the Church. As we prepare to celebrate the Queenship of Mary on Friday, I hope that you will enjoy this post and to use as part of your prayer this week -

“The Church honors the Virgin Mary with the glorious title of Queen because she has been elevated to the dignity of Mother of the King of kings. If the Son is King, says Saint Athanasius, His Mother must necessarily be considered Queen. From the moment that Mary consented to become the Mother of the Eternal Word, she merited the title of Queen of the World and of all creatures. If the flesh of Mary, says Saint Arnold, was the flesh of Jesus, how can the Mother be separated from the Son in His Kingdom? It thus follows that the Regal Glory must not only be considered as common to the Mother and the Son, but must even be the same.

Mary, then, is Queen, but let all learn for their consolation that she is a mild and merciful Queen, desiring the good of all sinners. Therefore, the Church salutes her in prayer and names her the Queen of Mercy. The very name of Queen signifies, as Albert the Great remarks, compassion and provision for the poor; differing in this from the title of empress, which signifies severity and rigor. The greatness of kings and queens consists in comforting the wretched so that, whereas tyrants have only their own advantage in view, kings should be concerned with the good of their subjects. Therefore, at the consecration of kings, their heads are anointed with oil, which is the symbol of mercy, to denote that in ruling they should always show kindness and good-will toward their subjects.

This is image is 'Our Lady of Ostra Brama' (Our Lady of Mercy). She is the patroness of the Marian Province in the United States.

This is image is ‘Our Lady of Ostra Brama’ (Our Lady of Mercy). She is the patroness of the Marian Province in the United States.

Kings, then, should principally occupy themselves with works of mercy, but they should not neglect the exercise of justice toward the guilty when it is required. But Mary is not a queen of justice, intent on the punishment of the guilty, but rather a Queen of Mercy, intent only on compassion and pardon for sinners. Accordingly, the Church calls her Queen of Mercy. “These two things which I heard: that power belongs to God, and yours, O Lord, is kindness” (Psalm 62:12-13). The Lord has divided the kingdom of God into two parts, Justice and Mercy. He has reserved the kingdom of justice for Himself, and He has granted the kingdom of mercy to Mary. Saint Thomas confirms this when he says that the holy Virgin, when she consented to be the Mother of the Redeemer, obtained half (1⁄2) of the kingdom of God by becoming Queen of Mercy, while Jesus remained King of Justice…

…Is there anyone who does not know the power of Mary’s prayers with God? Every prayer of hers is like a law that mercy shall be given to those for whom she intercedes. Saint Bernard asks why the Church names Mary, Queen of Mercy. It is because we believe that she obtains the mercy of God for all who seek it, so that not even the greatest sinner is lost if Mary protects him.

But some might think that Mary hesitates in pleading on behalf of some sinners, because she finds them so sinful. Should the majesty and sanctity of this great Queen alarm us? No, says Saint Gregory, in proportion to her greatness and holiness are her clemency and mercy toward sinners who wish to repent, and have recourse to her. Kings and queens inspire terror by the display of their majesty, and their subjects are afraid to go before them. But what fear, says Saint Bernard, can sinners have of going to this Queen of Mercy, since she never shows herself austere to those who seek her, but is always gentle and kind.”

Let us pray: O Mary, Queen of Mercy and our Advocating Mother, be our intercessor and lead us to your Son and Our Savior, Jesus Christ. As Mediatrix of All Graces, we ask you to shed upon the great and infinite mercy that Jesus gave to us on the cross perpetually. Mary, Queen of Mercy…Pray for us.


The Assumption of Mary: 7 Blog Posts on the Marian Solemnity

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. It is one of the great Marian Solemnities of the Catholic Church and one topic I have written about quite often since the inception of this blog in late January 2012. Below you will find links to the seven blog posts on the Assumption of Mary, some that come from my weekly series – “Mondays with Mary.”

I hope you enjoy them, learn from them, and share them with others. They are listed from the most recent to the first one I wrote in August 2012.

1. “Mondays with Mary” – 10 Words from St. Alphonsus Ligouri to the 21st Century on the Assumption of Mary 

2. Breathing with Two Lungs of the Church for the Assumption of Mary 

3. The Death, Dormition, and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

4. “Mondays with Mary” – 5 Quotes from the Saints on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

5. “Mondays with Mary” – Blessed John Paul II (Pope St. John Paul II) and Pope Benedict XVI on the Assumption of Mary  

6. “Mondays with Mary” – The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

7. “Mondays with Mary” – St. Francis de Sales on the Assumption of Mary

This blog post is dedicated to the Iraqi Christians who are enduring such persecution and suffering right now. May the Blessed Virgin Mary watch over them, protect them, and lead them straight to Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Quick Lessons from the Catechism: Respect for the Dead and Christian Funerals

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Queen of Heaven Mortuary and Cemetery in Mesa, Arizona. Fellow parishioner and friend, Harry Antram, Director of Funeral Services for the Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Cemeteries and Mortuaries, gave me a personal tour of the facility.

Considering that I am Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis at the parish, I felt the need to understand the role that Catholic cemeteries play in the life of Catholics and the life of the parish. Although I have been to numerous funerals in my life already, it was my personal desire to know what happens before one arrives to the funeral of a family member or friend.

In recent years, I have been thinking more and more about my own mortality. I am reminded of what St. Benedict says in his Rule – “To see death before one daily” (Chap. 4, #47). Although The Rule of St. Benedict was originally written for his Benedictine brothers, this little gem in the beginning of his Rule should be a good reminder for us all.

With that being said, I found my visit and tour with Harry the perfect opportunity to teach you what the Catechism of the Catholic Church states on Respect for the Dead and Christian Funerals.

In regards for the Respect for the Dead, it states…

CCC 2299: The dying should be given attention and care to help them live their last moments in dignity and peace. They will be helped by the prayer of their relatives, who must see to it that the sick receive at the proper time the sacraments that prepare them to meet the living God.

CCC 2300: The bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity, in faith and hope of the Resurrection. The burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy; it honors the children of God, who are temples of the Holy Spirit.

CCC 2301: Autopsies can be morally permitted for legal inquests or scientific research. The free gift of organs after death is legitimate and can be meritorious. The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body.

Requiem Mass with Black Vestments

Requiem Mass with Black Vestments

In regards to Christian Funerals, it states…

CCC 1680: All the sacraments, and principally those of Christian initiation, have as their goal the last Passover of the child of God which, through death, leads him into the life of the Kingdom. Then what he confessed in faith and hope will be fulfilled: “I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.”

CCC 1682: For the Christian the day of death inaugurates, at the end of his sacramental life, the fulfillment of his new birth begun at Baptism, the definitive “conformity” to “the image of the Son” conferred by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and participation in the feast of the Kingdom which was anticipated in the Eucharist- even if final purifications are still necessary for him in order to be clothed with the nuptial garment.

CCC 1684: The Christian funeral is a liturgical celebration of the Church. The ministry of the Church in this instance aims at expressing efficacious communion with the deceased, at the participation in that communion of the community gathered for the funeral, and at the proclamation of eternal life to the community.

For a more extensive explanation of Christian Funerals, I would suggest reading the entire section that consists of paragraphs 1680-1690.

To listen to Harry Antram’s talk on Catholic Funeral Practices, please go here. This talk was part of the Saturday Morning Speaker Series held at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church.

The Prayer for a Happy Death through the intercession of St. Joseph can be found here.

“Mondays with Mary” – 10 words from St. Alphonsus Liguori to the 21st Century on the Assumption of Mary

This Thursday is the Dormition of the Theotokos for the East and Friday is the Assumption of Mary into Heaven for the West. As we celebrate this great Marian Solemnity through both lungs of the Church, I am reminded how important this event is in Salvation History.

The Assumption of Mary (or Dormition) is the natural, or should we say, supernatural progression of Her Immaculate Conception. Since Mary is “Full of Grace” and the Ever-Virgin Mother of God, the Assumption is what completes the life of Our Heavenly Queen here on Earth. She now resides in her Heavenly dwelling interceding and praying for us.

Knowing the importance the saints have played in the life of the Catholic Church throughout the centuries, it has always been a goal of this blog to provide you with the lives and words of the saints. Because of his great love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, I give you 10 words from St. Alphonsus Ligouri to the 21st Century on the Assumption of Mary -

1. “But God was pleased that Mary should in all things resemble Jesus; and as the Son died, it was becoming that the Mother should also die; because, moreover, He wished to give the just an example of the precious death prepared for them, He willed that even the most Blessed Virgin should die, but by a sweet and happy death.”

2. “There are three things which render death bitter: attachment to the world, remorse for sins, and the uncertainty of salvation. The death of Mary was entirely free from these causes of bitterness, and was accompanied by three special graces, which rendered it precious and joyful. She died as she had lived, entirely detached from the things of the world; she died in the most perfect peace; she died in the certainty of eternal glory.”

3. “Mary certainly could not be tormented at death by any remorse of conscience, for she was always pure, and always free from the least shade of actual or original sin; so much so, that of her it was said: ‘Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee.’”

4. “But what joy must the Divine Mother have felt in receiving the news of her approaching death! She who had the fullest certainty of the possession of Divine grace, especially after the Angel Gabriel had assured her that she was full of it, and that she already possessed God. ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee . . . thou hast found grace.’”

Assumption of Mary #1

5. “If Mary, then, loved no other good than Jesus, He being in heaven, all her desires were in heaven. Taulerus says, that ‘Heaven was the cell of the heavenly and most Blessed Virgin Mary; for, being there with all her desires and affections, she made it her continual abode.’”

6. It would seem just, that the Church, on this day of the Assumption of Mary into heaven, should invite us to weep rather than to rejoice, since our Mother has left this earth, and we no longer enjoy her presence. As Saint Bernard says, it seems that we should rather weep than exult. But, no, holy Church invites us to rejoice: “Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a feast in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

7. “Now, behold, Mary leaves the earth, and calling to mind the many graces she had there received from her Lord, she looks on it affectionately. And now Jesus offers her His Hand and the Blessed Mother rises in the air, passes beyond the clouds and arrives at the gates of heaven.”

8. “The glory of Mary, which was full and complete, is different from that which the other saints have in heaven… Mary in heaven desires nothing and has nothing to desire.”

9. “Let us rejoice, then, with Mary in the exalted throne to which God has elevated her in heaven. And let us rejoice also for her own sake, since if our Mother has ceased to be present with us by rising in glory to heaven, she has not ceased to be present with us in her affection.”

10. “And with this love of our Mother Mary, I leave you, my readers, saying to you: Continue joyfully to honor and love this good Lady. Try also to promote the love of her wherever you can; and do not doubt that, if you persevere in true devotion to Mary, even until death, your salvation is assured.”

Orans - TheotokosLet us Pray: As we celebrate these great days in the life of the Church at the end of the week, let us pray for our fellow Christians throughout the Middle East that are suffering and enduring overwhelming persecutions because they believe that Jesus the Nazorean is the Christ. We ask that the Holy and Immaculate Theotokos continue to pray for them and for all Christians around the world. Amen.

Quick Lessons from the Catechism: The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

As the entire globe prays for peace in Iraq and we remember our fellow Christians who are being persecuted and martyred for their faith, let us unite in solidarity with them on the this day of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. At each moment of the day, when you are praying, pray for peace in a country that needs it more than ever. Although we are facing religious persecution as Christians today, what the Chaldean Christians are enduring does not compare. PRAY, FAST, and do it with great diligence.

In the end, we must remember that we are on the winning team. Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God died for our sins and three days later rose from the dead in all his glory. The Transfiguration of Our Lord is the foreshadowing of His Glory after the Resurrection. As we celebrate this great feast in both the Eastern and Western lungs of the Church, and we remember in prayer our fellow Christians in Iraq enduring their sufferings, let us examine briefly what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches about this important event in the life of Jesus Christ -

CCC 567: Christ’s Transfiguration aims at strengthening the apostles’ faith in anticipation of his Passion: the ascent on to the “high mountain” prepares for the ascent to Calvary. Christ, Head of the Church, manifests what his Body contains and radiates in the sacraments: “the hope of glory” (Col 1:27; cf.: St. Leo the Great, Sermo 51, 3: PL 54, 310C).

For the complete teaching of Jesus’ Transfiguration in the Catechism, read paragraphs 554-556. I would also encourage you to read my post from last year here.

O Blessed and Holy Theotokos…Pray for Iraq, the Chaldean Christians, and Each One of Us. Amen.

Theotokos - Orthodox