“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of the Rose

Today, we celebrate one of the feasts, which is not listed in the official calendar and feast days of the Church, but is still attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Today’s title is – Our Lady of the Rose, in Lucca, Italy. On January 30, in the arms of the statue of the Blessed Mother, three roses were found. From this point, this day has been celebrated as the Madonna of the Rose or Our Lady of the Rose.

Madonna of the Rose

Madonna of the Rose

So why is the Rose flower so important when it comes to the Blessed Virgin Mary?

If you think about it – in so many of the Marian apparitions, she is either carrying flowers, particularly the rose, or the rose has played a major part in revealing her message to the world.

When she came to us as Our Lady of La Salette, she was wearing a garland of roses as well as had tiny roses on her slippers. In the apparitions of Pontmain, Bannenexu, and most notably, Lourdes, and others, she brought beautiful roses with her.

The clearest time we see the rose flower is in Mexico on Tepeyac Hill when she appears to as Our Lady of Guadalupe. She tells St. Juan Diego to go to the hill and to collect the roses, placing them in his tilma. He was then was told to bring them to the Archbishop. When he arrived at the Archbishop’s residence to show him the roses, not only were the roses a sign, but also was the beautiful tilma St. Juan Diego was wearing. It was through the power of God and the roses that the world received the tilma. To learn more about Our Lady of Guadalupe, I would suggest reading – Why Nine Million People Suddenly Turned Catholic: Astounding Physical Evidence.

Blessed Cardinal John Newman said the following about Mary,

“Mary is the most beautiful flower ever seen in the spiritual world. It is by the power of God’s grace that from this barren and desolate earth there ever sprung up at all flowers of holiness and glory; and Mary is the Queen of them all. She is the Queen of spiritual flowers; and therefore, is called the Rose, for the rose is called of all flowers the most beautiful. But, moreover, she is the Mystical or Hidden Rose, for mystical means hidden.”

The rose is very beautiful, however, there is also suffering found in the thorns of the rose. For the Blessed Virgin Mary, the rose thorns are the reminder that like Jesus, who wore a crown of thorns, she too would also suffer along with her son. As the Mother of Jesus, she witnessed the terrible suffering and death first hand as she walked with him, stood with him, and watched him die on the Cross.

To learn more about Rose and the other Flowers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I would encourage you to read my blog post by clicking on the link above.

Our Lady of the Rose…Pray for Us. 

Source:

“Madonna of the Rose.” Roman Catholic Saints. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.

Madonna of the Rose Garden

Madonna of the Rose Garden

“Mondays with Mary” – Pope Benedict XVI and Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today we celebrate the great Marian feast of Mexico – Our Lady of Guadalupe. Known as the Patroness of the Americas and the Patroness of my home diocese, Phoenix, the Virgin of Guadalupe is loved by both Mexicans and Americans. Not only does this continent love her; many Catholics across the globe also have a great devotion to Our Lady under this title as well.

In the final year of his short papacy, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI traveled to Mexico (as well as Cuba) from March 23-29, 2012. It was on this Apostolic Journey that he realized what his predecessor meant when he said he knew what it felt like to be a “Mexican Pope.” In an improvised address, Pope Benedict said,

“Mexico will always be in my heart. I can say that for years I have been praying every day for Mexico, but in the future I will pray much more. Now I can understand why Pope John Paul II said: ‘I feel I am a Mexican Pope’.

pope-benedict-xvi-in-a-black-sombrero

The Mexican people loved both John Paul II and Benedict XVI – with open arms, they embraced them as their own.

To celebrate today’s great Marian feast of Mexico and to ponder the mysteries behind the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, here are 5 quotes from the German Pope focusing on the Rose of Mexico –

1. “In Latin America, in general, it is very important that Christianity mean more to the heart than to reason. Our Lady of Guadalupe is recognized and loved by all, because people understand that she is a Mother to all and has been present from the outset in this new Latin America, after the arrival of the Europeans.”

2. “Mexico, and the majority of Latin American nations, have been commemorating in recent years the bicentennial of their independence…during these celebrations, as in the Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Most Holy Mary was invoked fervently, she who gently showed how the Lord loves all people and gave himself for them without distinction. Our Heavenly Mother has kept vigil over the faith of her children in the formation of these nations and she continues to do so today as new challenges present themselves.”

3. “This was how Our Lady of Guadalupe showed her divine Son to Saint Juan Diego, not as a powerful legendary hero but as the very God of the living, by whom all live, the Creator of persons, of closeness and immediacy, of heaven and earth (cf. Nican Mopohua, v.33). At that moment she did what she had done previously at the wedding feast of Cana. Faced with the embarrassment caused by the lack of wine, she told the servants clearly that the path to follow was her Son: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).”

4. “As we now pray the Angelus and remember the Annunciation of the Lord, our eyes too turn spiritually towards the hill of Tepeyac, to the place where the Mother of God, under the title of “the Ever-Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe” has been fervently honoured for centuries as a sign of reconciliation and of God’s infinite goodness towards the world. My predecessors on the Chair of Saint Peter honoured her with affectionate titles such as Our Lady of Mexico, Heavenly Patroness of Latin America, Mother and Empress of this continent.

5. “Recognizing the faith in Jesus Christ which I have felt resounding in your hearts, and your affectionate devotion to his Mother, invoked here with beautiful titles like Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Light, a light I have seen reflected in your faces, I wish to reiterate clearly and with vigour a plea to the Mexican people to remain faithful to yourselves, not to let yourselves be intimidated by the powers of evil, but to be valiant and to work to ensure that the sap of your Christian roots may nourish your present and your future.”

Patroness of the Americas, the Rose of Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe…Pray for Us. 

Pope Benedict XVI walks near an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe as celebrates Mass to mark the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Dec. 12. During the liturgy the pope confirmed he will travel to Mexico and Cuba in the spring. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (Dec. 12, 2011) See POPE-GUADALUPE Dec. 12, 2012.

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of America, Part II

Since last week’s blog post on Our Lady of America, Part I was very popular, with many people sharing it on social media, I felt the need to write a second part for this week’s “Mondays with Mary”, especially in light of the evil and horror we witnessed on Friday night.

I think that our country most certainly needs this devotion to Our Lady and I also think it can be accomplished as long as everyone that reads this post can share all the information pertaining to the apparitions that took place 60 years ago. Instead of re-writing on what needs to be done to get the statue into the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on a permanent basis, I suggest reading this link titled – “How to Practice the Devotion Through Its Image, Medal, Prayers, Promises and Visitations.

Although there is much you can do, most especially pray the devotion, two things that I have done over the past week, and I encourage all of you to do the same – sign the petition (for the Solemn Procession/Placement of the Statue of Our Lady of America in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception) and place an image of Our Lady of America in your homes. Below is the image now in my home at my front door.

Our Lady of America in my home #2

Ten years a petition was given to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to have the statue permanently placed in the National Shrine, and although some of the Bishops agreed, others did not. It’s now been a decade. As the lay faithful, we really need to increase our devotion to Our Lady under this title to show the Bishops we want her placed in the National Shrine for good. Please prayerfully consider reaching out to your Bishop and writing a letter to him regarding this devotion. Here is a link for a sample letter that you can write. I would suggest updating it since I believe this sample is a couple of years old.

To conclude this second post on Our Lady of America, here are 7 quotes from the messages Sister received in the 1950’s. I hope you have the time to read all the messages, as well as share the devotion of Our Lady of America with your family and friends.

On May 22, 1954, from Our Lord:

“The Voice of My Heart is the Voice of Mercy. If man will not listen, there is no more I can do, for he ties My hands.”

On July 11, 1954, from Our Lord:

“Woe to parents who set a bad example to their children! Terrible will be their judgment. I will demand a strict account of every soul entrusted to their care…Woe to parents who teach their children how to gain materially in this world and neglect to prepare them for the next!”

On September 25, 1956, from Our Lady,

“I am pleased, my child, with the love and honor my children in America give to me, especially through my glorious and unique privilege of the Immaculate Conception. I promise to reward their love by working through the power of my Son’s Heart and my Immaculate Heart miracles of grace among them. I do not promise miracles of the body, but of the soul.

On October 13, 1956, regarding the National Shrine, from Our Lady,

“This is my shrine, my daughter. I am very pleased with it. Tell my children I thank them. Let them finish it quickly and make it a place of pilgrimage. It will be a place of wonders. I promise this, I will bless all those who, either by prayers, labor, or material aid, help to erect this shrine.”

In January 1957, to the Bishops from Our Lady,

“Tell the Bishops of the United Stares, my loyal sons, of my desires and how I wish them to be carried out. Through him who is head over you, make known 10 the longings of my Immaculate Heart to establish the reign of my Divine Son in the hearts of men and thus save them from the scourge of heaven, both now and hereafter.”

On March 30, 1958, from St. Joseph as he promised to come,

“I am the protector of the Church and the home, as I was the protector of Christ and His Mother while I lived upon earth. Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be now honored in a special way. Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First 21 Wednesday of the month by reciting the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them. Let them receive Holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time and each time I held Him in my arms.”

On December 20, 1959, from Our Lady and one of the last messages,

“Weep, then, dear child, weep with your Mother over the sins of men. Intercede with me before the throne of mercy, for sin is overwhelming the world and punishment is not far away.”

Please do all that you can to promote this devotion to Our Lady of America!

Our Lady of America…Pray for Us.

O Immaculate Virgin…Pray for Us.

Our Lady of Guadalupe…Pray for Us.

“Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of America, Part I

Since today is Independence Day and the 240th anniversary of Our Declaration of Independence from England here in the United States of America, I thought it would be the perfect day to write about one of the Marian apparitions that has occurred on our nations soil – Our Lady of America.

Now some of you might be thinking to yourself that Our Lady of Guadalupe has been given this title, but that would be incorrect. Our Lady of America refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her patronage over the particular country of the United States of America and is distinctly different from Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is known by her title, “Empress of The Americas”, which refers to her patronage over all the nations that compose the Americas. Blessed Pope Pius XII declared the title in reference to Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1945.

In a 2007 letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, then Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, said the following at the conclusion of his letter regarding to the two patronages I mentioned above,

“As one deeply devoted to fostering the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe in our nation, I have wondered about the relationship of the devotion to Our Lady of America to the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Archbishop Leibold, in fact, raised the question with Sister Mary Ephrem. Sister Mary Ephrem responded that Our Lady of Guadalupe is Empress of all the Americas, whereas “Our Lady of America, The Immaculate Virgin,” is the patroness of our nation, the United States of America. The two devotions are, in fact, completely harmonious. As our late and most beloved Pope John Paul II reminded us, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America and Star of the New Evangelization, draws all of the nations of America into unity in carrying out the new evangelization. Our Lady of America calls the people of our nation to the new evangelization through a renewed dedication to purity in love.”

On the night of September 25, 1956, Our Lady first appeared to Sr. Mary Ephrem, although she had mystical experiences since 1938. She didn’t think anything of them since she thought all religious had experiences such as these. Realizing that these experiences particularly focused around the Blessed Virgin Mary, which Sister was asked to circulate, she asked Monsignor Paul F. Leibold to be her spiritual director. Even as the Archbishop of Cincinnati he served her in this role until 1972, when he suddenly passed away do to aneurysm.

The Archbishop believed so heartedly that the messages to Sister from Our Lady were real; he authenticated her writings, gave them his Imprimatur as well as authenticated the design of the medal. During one of the apparitions, Our Lady asked Sister Mary to have a medal struck, which would bear the image of Our Lady of America on the front, and on the back, would be the symbol of the Christian Family and the Blessed Trinity.

Our Lady of America medal

During the apparitions, the Blessed Virgin pledged that if the United States did what was asked by her, the miracles in the country would be greater than those gifted at both Fatima and Lourdes. Because the Blessed Virgin Mary had a love for the children of America, Sister Mary said Our Lady called herself – Our Lady of America. She would often give affirmations in the apparitions regarding the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and since so many had a devotion to Mary in America, the title confirms her response to those individuals.

Appearing again to Sr. Mary Ephrem, this time on October 13, 1956, she held in both hands a small replica of the finished Immaculate Conception shrine in Washington, D.C., which was referenced many times by Our Lady in the apparitions. She hoped that once it was built it would become a place for pilgrimages and a place to honor her under the title of “Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin.” During the consecration of the United States to Our Lady, which happened in 1959 at the National Shrine, and then again on November 11, 2006, by Bishop David Ricken, the Blessed Mother was addressed as the “Immaculate Virgin.”

In the years of 1957 and 1958, Our Lady gave very strong warnings of the things that were growing and potentially coming to the United States of America. In the late summer of 1957, Our Lady said that although consecration to the Immaculate Heart had occurred, more needed to happen. All must seek after inner holiness and reform their lives. Those that cling to sin were unable to receive the treasure of grace that was awaiting them.

The Blessed Virgin promised that if her statue as Our Lady of America were given a place of honor in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, she would then protect the country. If a picture or a statue of Our Lady of America were placed in the homes, she would then protect the family. Anyone that wore the medal with great faith and devotion would be protected from evil.

As many of you know, our country, and our world, the culture in which we live, has become very hostile to Christianity, but even more so, Catholicism. It attacks the family in ways we have never seen before in the history of the Church. It seems to me that we as a country must rededicate ourselves to Our Lady, not only through the apparitions of Fatima and Lourdes, but also to Our Lady of America.

So today, as we celebrate the 240th anniversary of our Independence, let us turn back towards Our Lady of America and recommit ourselves to learning more about her (much more than what’s in this article) and doing what she asked of us in the apparitions to Sr. Mary Ephrem.

To print up a high-resolution photo of Our Lady of America and place it in your home, as well as prayer cards and the message book, please visit this page. For the benefit of our families here in the USA, please do this as soon as possible!

Our Lady of America…Pray for our Country and for all of us 

Our Lady of America

Update: Here is the high resolution 8×10 picture of Our Lady of America in my home now. It cost me $15.07 at Walgreens – $3.99 for the print, $9.99 for the frame, plus the tax.

Our Lady of America in my home #1

Our Lady of America in my home #2

To continue reading more about this Marian apparition, check out “Mondays with Mary” – Our Lady of America, Part II.

Sources:

“The Story of Our Lady of America.” The Story of Our Lady of America. Langsenkamp Family Apostolate of Indianapolis Indiana, n.d. Web. 04 July 2016.

“Regarding Our Lady of America.” Regarding Our Lady of America. Eternal Word Television Network, n.d. Web. 04 July 2016.

“Mondays with Mary” – 40th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration in Phoenix, Arizona

Yesterday I attended the 40th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration in Phoenix, Arizona, with my mom and cousin. I felt the need to attend this year’s Rosary celebration for two reasons: first, mom and my cousin both lost their husband’s this year. For our side of the family, losing Dad has been pretty rough, but we definitely have been able to see God’s hand in all of it. I wanted both of them to have the chance to spend a couple of hours in prayer with the particular church of Phoenix. The second reason why I wanted to attend was simply because I hadn’t been in a couple of years. As the Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis, it’s important for me to attend these events.

The Arizona Rosary Celebration is one of the largest events that shows honor to the Blessed Mother and the Holy Rosary in the United States. This year, the celebration displayed devotion to our Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of – Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Many of the parishes from the Diocese of Phoenix are in attendance as well as the Marian ministries that find their home in these parishes. This year, there were three bishops in attendance – Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix, Eduardo Nevares, and Gerald N. Dino, Bishop of the Holy Protection of Mary Eparchy of Phoenix. The keynote speaker was the Redemptorist Priest, Rev. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

One of the big attractions of this event is the massive procession that walks around the civic center hall. Participating are the parishes, ministries, Arizona Knights of Columbus Councils and Assemblies, and Los Matachines. The parishes and the Knights of Columbus carry and wave their banners, while Los Matachines dance to the beat of the drums. I love being Catholic in general, but being Catholic in the Southwest United States has a whole different element to it. Many of the Los Matachines have a great devotion to the Blessed Mother under her title of – Our Lady of Guadalupe.

After Fr. Billy’s teaching on the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, everyone in the hall prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese while we adored the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration. We concluded Adoration and 40th Annual Arizona Rosary Celebration with Solemn Benediction.

As we made our way back to my vehicle, we stopped outside to watch the Los Matachines dance and venerate an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I realized how very blessed we are to live here in Phoenix. We have such faithful and holy Bishops who are willing to attend such events and lead us in prayer assisting us to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ and Blessed Mother.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help…Pray For Us. 

175th “Mondays with Mary” 

12 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today we celebrate the great Marian feast of Mexico – Our Lady of Guadalupe. Known as the Patroness of the Americas and patroness of my home diocese, Phoenix, the Virgin of Guadalupe is loved by both Mexicans and Americans. Not only does this continent love her; many Catholics across the globe also have a great devotion to Our Lady under this title as well.

JP II in sombreroOne man who had a deep devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe was Pope St. John Paul II. Visiting Mexico five times during his Pontificate, John Paul II loved visiting Mexico and speaking about Our Lady of Guadalupe, once saying he knew what it felt like to be a “Mexican Pope.” He also understood the correlations between his home country of Poland, and that of Mexico – two Catholic nations that had endured persecutions, yet remained faithful to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.

Here are 12 quotes from Pope St. John Paul II from a variety of his homilies, speeches, and addresses during his four visits to Mexico –

“…to all of you, Mexicans, who have a splendid past of love for Christ, even in the midst of trials; to you who bear in the depths of your heart devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Pope wishes to speak today about something which is, and must increasingly be an essential Christian and Marian feature of yours: faithfulness to the Church.”

“…while waiting for the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Mother of God of Guadalupe, I experience the same sentiments, as when I used to go—and I hope that I will be able to go again in the not distant future—to the Sanctuary of the Mother of God of Jasna Gora at Czestochowa.”

“I have great hopes in your love for Christ and for men. There is a great deal to be done. Let us set out with renewed enthusiasm; united with Christ, under the motherly gaze of the Virgin, Our Lady of Guadalupe the sweet mother of priests and religious.”

“In fact, when the first missionaries who reached America from lands of eminent Marian tradition taught the rudiments of Christian faith, they also taught love for you, the Mother of Jesus and of all people. And ever since the time that the Indian Juan Diego spoke of the sweet Lady of Tepeyac, you, Mother of Guadalupe, have entered decisively into the Christian life of the people of Mexico.”

“We also are awaiting the descent of the Holy Spirit, who will make us see the paths of evangelization by which the Church must continue and must be reborn in this great continent of ours. We also wish today and in the days ahead to devote ourselves to prayer with Mary, the Mother of our Lord and Master—with you, Mother of hope, Mother of Guadalupe.”

“We offer you the whole of this People of God. We offer you the Church in Mexico and in the whole continent. We offer it to you as your own, You have entered so deeply into the hearts of the faithful through that sign of your presence constituted by your image in the Shrine of Guadalupe; be at home in these hearts, for the future also. Be at home in our families, our parishes, missions, dioceses, and in all the peoples.”

JP2 and Our Lady of Guadalupe

“…The Church must proclaim the Gospel of life and speak out with prophetic force against the culture of death. May the Continent of Hope also be the Continent of Life! This is our cry: life with dignity for all! For all who have been conceived in their mother’s womb, for street children, for Guadalupe!…Grant that Christian families may exemplarily raise their children in the Church’s faith and in love of the Gospel, so that they will be the seed of apostolic vocations.”

“I wish to entrust and offer the future of the continent to Blessed Mary, Mother of Christ and of the Church. For this reason, I have the joy now of announcing that I have declared that on 12 December Our Lady of Guadalupe faith of our brothers and sisters, so that in all areas of social, professional, cultural and political life they may act in accord with the truth and the new law which Jesus brought to humanity.”

“…I would like to turn my thoughts to Tepeyac, to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the first and the new evangelization of America. To her I entrust the pilgrim Church in Mexico and the American continent, and I fervently ask her to guide her children, so that they will enter the third millennium with faith and hope.”

“‘The Guadalupe Event’, as the Mexican Episcopate has pointed out, “meant the beginning of evangelization with a vitality that surpassed all expectations. Christ’s message, through his Mother, took up the central elements of the indigenous culture, purified them and gave them the definitive sense of salvation” (14 May 2002, No. 8). Consequently Guadalupe and Juan Diego have a deep ecclesial and missionary meaning and are a model of perfectly inculturated evangelization.”

“In accepting the Christian message without forgoing his indigenous identity, Juan Diego discovered the profound truth of the new humanity, in which all are called to be children of God. Thus he facilitated the fruitful meeting of two worlds and became the catalyst for the new Mexican identity, closely united to Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose mestizo face expresses her spiritual motherhood which embraces all Mexicans.”

‘Dear Mexicans: thank you for your hospitality, for your constant affection, for your fidelity to the Church. Continue to be faithful on this journey, encouraged by the marvelous examples of holiness born in this noble nation. Be holy! Repeating what I said to you in the Basilica of Guadalupe in 1990, serve God, the Church and the nation, each one assuming personal responsibility for passing on the Gospel message and witnessing to a faith that is alive and active in society.”

Pope St. John Paul II…Pray For Us.

Patroness of the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe…Pray For Us.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

“Mondays with Mary” – ‘Star of the New Evangelization’

Last night, I appeared on the Joe Miller Unplugged show featured on the Fiat Ministry Network for my first television interview. Among the many things we discussed, we focused on evangelization, but specifically, the New Evangelization. The New Evangelization, a concept at the core of this blog, is the same thing as the old evangelization, but it’s the renewal of the Gospel message using the tools of social media, film, and technology to promote the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church to places and lands that have already heard it.

Furthermore, the New Evangelization calls baptized Catholics to preach the Gospel to all people we encounter, and to do it with joy. As baptized Christians, it’s at our very core to be missionaries, even to people (our families, coworkers, and social circles) that have heard the Gospel message already. As Pope Francis says in Evangelii Gaudium,

“When the Church summons Christians to take up the task of evangelization, she is simply pointing to the source of authentic personal fulfillment. For ‘here we discover a profound law of reality: that life is attained and matures in the measure that it is offered up in order to give life to others. This is certainly what mission means.’ Consequently, an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral!”

In the interview, we also talked about the Blessed Virgin Mary, the weekly series which this post is now part of, and what the Church teaches about the Annunciation and the Immaculate Conception. So for today’s blog post I am going to unite these two elements – the New Evangelization and Mary, and give you the words of Pope Francis in the aforementioned Apostolic Exhortation.

The "Star of the New Evangelization' is the title given to Pope St. John Paul II to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The “Star of the New Evangelization’ is the title given to Pope St. John Paul II to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Focusing on Mary’s title as the ‘Star of the New Evangelization’, the Holy Father says,

“We ask the Mother of the living Gospel to intercede that this invitation to a new phase of evangelization will be accepted by the entire ecclesial community. Mary is the woman of faith, who lives and advances in faith, and “her exceptional pilgrimage of faith represents a constant point of reference for the Church. Mary let herself be guided by the Holy Spirit on a journey of faith towards a destiny of service and fruitfulness. Today we look to her and ask her to help us proclaim the message of salvation to all and to enable new disciples to become evangelizers in turn. Along this journey of evangelization we will have our moments of aridity, darkness and even fatigue. Mary herself experienced these things during the years of Jesus’ childhood in Nazareth: “This is the beginning of the Gospel, the joyful good news. However, it is not difficult to see in that beginning a particular heaviness of heart, linked with a sort of night of faith – to use the words of Saint John of the Cross – a kind of ‘veil’ through which one has to draw near to the Invisible One and to live in intimacy with the mystery. And this is the way that Mary, for many years, lived in intimacy with the mystery of her Son, and went forward in her pilgrimage of faith”.

There is a Marian “style” to the Church’s work of evangelization. Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness. In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong who need not treat others poorly in order to feel important themselves. Contemplating Mary, we realize that she who praised God for “bringing down the mighty from their thrones” and “sending the rich away empty” (Lk 1:52-53) is also the one who brings a homely warmth to our pursuit of justice. She is also the one who carefully keeps “all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). Mary is able to recognize the traces of God’s Spirit in events great and small. She constantly contemplates the mystery of God in our world, in human history and in our daily lives. She is the woman of prayer and work in Nazareth, and she is also Our Lady of Help, who sets out from her town “with haste” (Lk 1:39) to be of service to others. This interplay of justice and tenderness, of contemplation and concern for others, is what makes the ecclesial community look to Mary as a model of evangelization. We implore her maternal intercession that the Church may become a home for many peoples, a mother for all peoples, and that the way may be opened to the birth of a new world. It is the Risen Christ who tells us, with a power that fills us with confidence and unshakeable hope: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5).”

So as we begin our workweek this Monday, let us ask for the intercession of Mary as the ‘Star of the New Evangelization’ to help us bring the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to all those we encounter with joy, enthusiasm, and passion. Let us build relationships with people so they may see our relationship with Christ and have the desire to develop and form a relationship with Him as well.