Miraculous Medal devotion in Taunton celebrates 75 years


By Kenneth J. Souza
Anchor Staff
kensouza@anchornews.org

TAUNTON, Mass. — For the past 75 years, every Monday evening at 7 p.m., you can find faithful parishioners at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Taunton celebrating a devotion to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

The weekly Novena began in the parish in October of 1943, during World War II when prayer was of the utmost importance. In wartime, this Novena to Our Lady flourished across the country and throughout the world. Parishioners at St. Andrew’s take pride in knowing that this devotion has continued in the same church — previously named St. Joseph — for 75 years, on the same day, and at the same time all these years.

“When I came to the parish two years ago, I was pleased to know that the weekly Novena had been going on for more than 70 years,” said Father Edward A. Murphy, pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish. “I’ve always had a personal devotion to the Miraculous Medal, which began when I was younger and my sister became ill. I still wear the medal to this day and when I was ordained, I placed a Miraculous Medal on my chalice.”

st_laboure_relic

Our Blessed Mother appeared to St. Catherine Labouré in 1830 when Catherine was just 24 years old and a novice with the Daughters of Charity. Our Lady modeled the Medal and asked Catherine to have a medal struck after her model. It was to be called “The Medal of the Immaculate Conception.”

Two years later, in 1832, 2,000 medals were minted. People were encouraged to wear them around their neck and say the “Memorare” prayer. Because so many miracles were attributed to this medal, it later became known as the “Miraculous Medal.”

St. Catherine died in 1876 and in 1933, upon her beatification, she was exhumed and found to be incorrupted. She is buried beneath an altar encased in glass at 140 Rue de Bac in Paris, France, at the convent where Mary appeared to her. 

St. Catherine was canonized by Pope Pius XII on July 27, 1947.

Appropriately enough, St. Andrew the Apostle Parish is home to a rare first-class relic of St. Catherine — a piece of bone — which is venerated every Monday night at the close of the weekly Novena.

Father Murphy said the weekly Novena continues to be well-attended and, with the exception of weekend Masses, remains the “largest Spiritual gathering in Taunton.”

“The association between myself and Our Lady through the Miraculous Medal has lasted a long time in my life,” Father Murphy said. “I am happy that we can keep the devotion alive in our parish.”

All are welcome to come and join this weekly devotion every Monday evening from 7 to 8 p.m. at St. Andrew the Apostle Church, 19 Kilmer Avenue in Taunton, where the Blessed Sacrament is placed on the altar, followed by Benediction, praying of the Rosary, a homily and Novena prayer to Our Lady.


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