May heralds spring devotions to Mary, Queen of Heaven

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By Linda Andrade Rodrigues, Anchor Correspondent

ATTLEBORO, Mass. — Catholics set aside numerous days during the Liturgical year to honor Mary. Under her patronage are the Marian holy days of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption, as well as every Saturday, and the months of May and October. 

“I entrust you all to Mary most holy, our Mother in Heaven, the Star of the Sea of our life; pray to her every day, you children!” said St. John Paul II. “Give your hand to Mary most holy, so that she may lead you to receive Jesus in a holy way.”

Mary, the Queen of Heaven, brings comfort, hope and faith to our world.

“Even as sailors are guided into port by means of a star, so Christians are guided toward Heaven by means of Mary,” said St. Thomas Aquinas.

The month of May heralds the spring devotions to the Blessed Virgin with altars, crowning processions and the utterance of countless decades of the Rosary.

“In celebration of this month dedicated to Our Lady, set aside in your home a May altar, placing on it an image of the Blessed Mother, some spring flowers, a candle, and a Rosary,” wrote Father Richard J. Beyer in “Medjugorje Day By Day: A Daily Meditation Book based on the Messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje.” “As a family, light the candle each day and offer Our Lady some special prayers, such as the Rosary, the Litany of Mary, or another prayer for the special intentions of the Queen of Peace.”

Some of the Marian events planned for this month around the Diocese of Fall River include a presentation on Mary; a 33-day Consecration to Jesus through Mary; and the retreat “A Day with Mary: Mary in Scripture and Life.”

Sponsored by the Fall River Diocesan Council of Catholic Nurses, “A Presentation on Mary — A Care Giver During the Suffering and Joys of Everyday Life” will be held in the Nannery Conference Room of St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River on May 17, from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m. 

“I like the idea of Mary as a caregiver; she really is,” said guest speaker Father John Sullivan, a missionary of Our Lady of La Salette. “She wants to bring us back to health to help us come closer to her Son; and that’s when we are healthy and strong. Her apparitions as well as places in Scripture where she is quoted — they all build toward this. She’s just good for our health in every sense of the word.” 

Although Father Sullivan admits that he has of yet to prepare his final presentation, he met with his friend Anna Rae-Kelly, a lay Carmelite and the founder of ARK Ministries, to share their thoughts on the subject.

“We just wrote down some good ideas about the beautiful characteristics of a Catholic nurse,” he said, relating those to the role model of the Blessed Mother.

Father Sullivan said that Catholic nurses are joy-filled in faith, citing the mystical joy of Mary’s Magnificat to God as she served her older cousin, Elizabeth: “My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.” They are an advocate for the other. Mary insisted that her Divine Son do something about the wine situation at the wedding in Cana. They are forgetful of self for the other. Mary was and still is empty of self and full of God and full of grace. They are silently empathic before suffering. Mary stood silently at the foot of the cross.

All are welcome to the event. Mass and lunch will follow the presentation. The deadline for registering is May 10, and the presentation fee is $25. Contact Betty at 508-678-2373 for more information.

Three hundred years ago, St. Louis de Montfort gave the world the 33-Day Consecration to Jesus through Mary. It is this very same consecration that St. Pope John Paul II made and had emblazoned across his vestments: “Totus Tuus” (Totally Yours, Mary).

“Like all saints, Louis de Montfort had a magnificent love for God, but it was his devotion to the Mother of God which drew him deeper into Christ,” explained Rae-Kelly. “To de Montfort, Mary was the moon with no light of her own. It was God’s will that His brilliance should shine through her to us.”

St. Louis said that Mary was the “supreme masterpiece of God,” echoing the words of St. Augustine: “God poured Himself into the mold that is Mary.” 

“When we say, ‘Mary,’ she says, ‘God,’” according to St. Louis. “And to go through this loving, self-empty, maternal heart is to go to God in the quickest possible way.”

The Consecration to Jesus through Mary is currently underway at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro. Booklets are available at the welcome center. The next meeting will be May 12 at 7:15 p.m. (after the 6:15 Mass). All are welcome. The prayers also can be said in your own home. For more information, visit www.annaprae.com

Presented by Dorothy J. Levesque, “A Day with Mary: Mary in Scripture and Life” will be held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette Retreat and Conference Center on May 17.

The first section of the day of prayer will highlight Mary as depicted in Scripture. Through not often cited in the Gospels, Mary is mentioned at Jesus’ conception and birth, at His presentations in the Temple, at a site of His public speaking — and, of course, at the foot of the cross. She is daughter, friend, wife, mother, widow and bereaved parent.

The next segment will focus on the many titles of Mary. Through the years, Mary has become known as light of hope, cause of joy, comforter in times of sorrow, one wrapped in mystery, champion of the poor and lowly, full of grace, intercessor in times of need, etc. What is the importance of these titles? Do they help us understand the “place” of Mary in our lives and in our world? 

The retreat will conclude with a presentation, sharing and the praying the Stations of Mary.

The retreat costs $40 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch and materials. For more information, call 508-222-8530.

The portrait of Our Lady of Fall River above was commissioned by Bishop James E. Cassidy and was painted by renown artist Feodor Sahkarov in 1943. The original now hangs in the bishop’s residence. A feature on the painting appeared in the May 2, 2008 Anchor.

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