Remembering Dad

Today marks the one year anniversary of my Dad’s passing. I cannot think of a better way to remember him than to recall his love for family and the outdoors, in pictures.

Below the slideshow, is the reflection I gave last year for the Rosary we prayed for the repose of his soul.

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First Mystery: The Annunciation (Luke 1:28-35)

As we meditate on Mary’s reception of the Angel’s word, we are reminded too, of Dad’s willingness to welcome strangers. It was often said, he treated strangers as friends. It was his own way of welcoming Christ.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Second Mystery: Jesus is Baptized in the Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17)

The Sacred Scriptures tell us He was like us in all things but sin. Yet he let himself be baptized, to share in our humanity, our need for external signs of God’s grace.  dad shared in the baptism of Christ; in his humanity and in his weaknesses, he did the best he could. He knew the grace of being forgiven, and by not holding a grudge he shared the grace as he forgave others.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Third Mystery: Mary Visits her Cousin Elizabeth (Luke 2:39-45)

What a blessed visit between Mary and her older cousin Elizabeth! This mystery reminds us too of how Dad enjoyed meeting other people, most of the time with a smile. That even when he wasn’t feeling well, he still greeted others with enthusiasm and usual cheerfulness.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Fourth Mystery: Jesus Rose from the Dead  (John 16:20-23)

Jesus tried to prepare his disciples for his death. He did not deny their need to grieve. BUT, he pointed beyond this death to his resurrection. Dad too was a firm believer in the resurrection.  He knew his life didn’t end here. And, with Jesus, he reminds us, “… your grief will turn to joy…I will see you again.”

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Fifth Mystery: Jesus Institutes the Holy Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

In the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, Jesus gave himself to us as a lasting memorial of His passion and death. Dad, before he became ill, daily nourished his soul at the table of the Word of God and the Eucharist. I remember coming with him to Mass and, I noticed he prayed as he approached Jesus at communion time, he would simply say, “Jesus, have mercy on me.”

He had come to believe in God’s mercy, and sought it out often in his earthly life.

Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be…

Dad, I love you. I miss you. And I look forward to the day when we will embrace again.

Marian Devotion Points Us to Christ

“All generations will call me blessed”

– Luke 1:48

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 971) teaches:

The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship (Paul VI, MC 56). The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs…This very special devotion…differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” (LG 66)  The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary (Paul VI, MC 42).

Mary, Mother of our Savior, Pray for Us!

How to Pray the Rosary

Come Pray the Rosary with others online.

Downloadable Rosary MP3’s

Mary, Help of Christians: Book of Novenas

Mary Prays

Mary prays. Twitter friend, @Prayersheart graciously allowed me to post her watercolor on my blog. I found myself invited by the image to pray a decade of my Rosary with Mary, she who is crowned with twelve stars (Rev 12:1).

As we wait for the coming Messiah, let us stop and spend a moment with Mary in prayer. She who draws us to her Son, and leads us to contemplate the redemptive mysteries of salvation that were accomplished on the Cross.

Mater Salvatoris, ora pro nobis!

Popular Piety and Mary

“I urge you to retain an appreciation for popular piety, which is different in every culture yet always remains very similar, for the human heart is ultimately one and the same. Certainly, popular piety tends towards the irrational, and can at times be somewhat superficial. Yet it would be quite wrong to dismiss it. Through that piety, the faith has entered human hearts and become part of the common patrimony of sentiments and customs, shaping the life and emotions of the community. Popular piety is thus one of the Church’s great treasures. The faith has taken on flesh and blood. Certainly popular piety always needs to be purified and refocused, yet it is worthy of our love and it truly makes us into the “People of God”.”

P. Benedict XVI to Seminarians. 18 October 2010 – Feast of St Luke the Evangelist


As we celebrate this month of May, walking in a particular way with Mary, the Mother of God, a reminder of some of the pious Marian practices of the faithful recommended by the Magisterium (It is worth going to the link to read the whole text which explains more in detail these beautiful devotions:

1.  Prayerfully Hearing the Word of God – The Council’s call for the “sacred celebration of the word of God” at significant moments throughout the Liturgical Year, can easily find useful application in devotional exercises made in honour of the Mother of the Word Incarnate.

2.  Angelus Domini – the traditional form used by the faithful to commemorate the holy annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary. It is used three times daily: at dawn, mid-day and at dusk. It is a recollection of the salvific event in which the Word became flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, through the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the salvific plan of the Father.

3.  Regina Coeli – By disposition of Benedict XIV (2 April 1742), the Angelus is replaced with the antiphon Regina Coeli during paschaltide. This antiphon, probably dating from the tenth or eleventh century(233), happily conjoins the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word (quem meruisti portare) with the Paschal event (resurrexit sicut dixit). The ecclesial community addresses this antiphon to Mary for the Resurrection of her Son. It adverts to, and depends on, the invitation to joy addressed by Gabriel to the Lord’s humble servant who was called to become the Mother of the saving Messiah (Ave, gratia plena).

As with the Angelus, the recitation of the Regina Coeli could sometimes take a solemn form by singing the antiphon and proclaiming the Gospel of the resurrection.

4.  The Rosary The Rosary, or Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the most excellent prayers to the Mother of God. Thus, “the Roman Pontiffs have repeatedly exhorted the faithful to the frequent recitation of this biblically inspired prayer which is centred on contemplation of the salvific events of Christ’s life, and their close association with the his Virgin Mother. The value and efficacy of this prayer have often been attested by saintly Bishops and those advanced in holiness of life”(235).

The Rosary is essentially a contemplative prayer, which requires “tranquillity of rhythm or even a mental lingering which encourages the faithful to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord’s life”(236). Its use is expressly recommended in the formation and spiritual life of clerics and religious(237).

5. The Blessing for Rosary Beads – indicates the Church’s esteem for the Rosary. This rite emphasises the community nature of the Rosary. In the rite, the blessing of rosary beads is followed by the blessing of those who meditate on the mysteries of the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord so as to “establish a perfect harmony between prayer and life”. As indicated in the Benedictionale, Rosary beads can be blessed publicly, on occasions such as a pilgrimage to a Marian shrine, a feast of Our Lady, especially that of the Holy Rosary, and at the end of the month of October.

“In recommending the value and beauty of the Rosary to the faithful, care should be taken to avoid discrediting other forms of prayer, or of overlooking the existence of a diversity of other Marian chaplets which have also been approved by the Church“.

6.  Litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Litanies are to be found among the prayers to the Blessed Virgin recommended by the Magisterium. These consist in a long series of invocations of Our Lady, which follow in a uniform rhythm, thereby creating a stream of prayer characterized by insistent praise and supplication. The invocations, generally very short, have two parts: the first of praise (Virgo clemens), the other of supplication (Ora pro nobis)…Following the prescription of Leo XIII that the recitation of the Rosary should be concluded by the Litany of Loreto during the month of October, the false impression has arisen among some of the faithful that the Litany is in some way an appendix to the Rosary. The Litanies are independent acts of worship. They are important acts of homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or as processional elements, or form part of a celebration of the Word of God or of other acts of worship.

7.  Consecration and Entrustment to Mary – The history of Marian devotion contains many examples of personal or collective acts of  “consecration or entrustment to the Blessed Virgin Mary” oblatio, servitus, commendatio, dedicatio). They are reflected in the prayer manuals and statutes of many associations where the formulas and prayers of consecration, or its remembrance, are used.

Seen in the light of Christ’s words (cf. John 19, 25-27), the act of consecration is a conscious recognition of the singular role of Mary in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church, of the universal and exemplary importance of her witness to the Gospel, of trust in her intercession, and of the efficacy of her patronage, of the many maternal functions she has, since she is a true mother in the order of grace to each and every one of her children.

8. The Brown Scapular and other Scapulars – The history of Marian piety also includes “devotion” to various scapulars, the most common of which is devotion to the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Its use is truly universal and, undoubtedly, its is one of those pious practices which the Council described as “recommended by the Magisterium throughout the centuries”.

The Scapular of Mount Carmel is a reduced form of the religious habit of the Order of the Friars of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel. Its use is very diffuse and often independent of the life and spirituality of the Carmelite family.

The Scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.

9.  Medals – The faithful like to wear medals bearing effigies of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These are a witness of faith and a sign of veneration of the Holy Mother of God, as well as of trust in her maternal protection.

The Church blesses such objects of Marian devotion in the belief that “they help to remind the faithful of the love of God, and to increase trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary”. The Church also points out that devotion to the Mother of Christ also requires “a coherent witness of life”.

Like all medals and objects of cult, the Miraculous Medal is never to be regarded as a talisman or lead to any form of blind credulity(260). The promise of Our Lady that “those who were the medal will receive great graces”, requires a humble and tenacious commitment to the Christian message, faithful and persevering prayer, and a good Christian life.

10.  The “Akathistos” Hymn – In the Byzantine tradition, one of the oldest and most revered expressions of Marian devotion is the hymn “Akathistos“—meaning the hymn sung while standing. It is a literary and theological masterpiece, encapsulating in the form of a prayer, the universally held Marian belief of the primitive Church. The hymn is inspired by the Scriptures, the doctrine defined by the Councils of Nicea (325), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451), and reflects the Greek fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries. It is solemnly celebrated in the Eastern Liturgy on the Fifth Saturday of Lent. The hymn is also sung on many other liturgical occasions and is recommended for the use of the clergy and faithful.

All the above taken from Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy published by Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. It is a wonderful document that expresses other elements of pious devotion within the Church.


This post was linked at New Advent under the heading, ’10 popular Marian devotions for the month of May…’

Also linked:

St John Church – Middletown, CT (Lot’s of Catholic info there!)

St John, Open the Door

The Times of India


Related post: Three Reasons for Mary

A Catholic Mom in Hawaii: Month of May – Divine Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary

Advent Vigil – for all Nascent Human Life – Update

Pope Benedict will hold a prayer vigil for unborn babies on Nov. 27, the evening before the First Sunday of Advent, at St. Peter’s Basilica in conjunction with Vespers for the Start of Advent and he is requesting that parishes, religious communities, associations and movements the world over host vigils in communion with him.

The Pope said:

“The season of preparation for Christmas is an appropriate time for invoking divine protection over every human being called into existence and for thanking God for the gift of life we received from our parents,”

This Vigil for Nascent Human Life, which has pro-life leaders rejoicing, will be held after Vespers for the Start of Advent. EWTN will televise both celebrations beginning at 11 a.m. ET, Sat., Nov. 27.

The Pope said he will pray for the unborn and their parents, for an end to abortion and research that destroys embryos, for recognition of the dignity of every human life, for the overturning of laws that permit the destruction of innocent lives, and for the healing of those who have acted against innocent human life.

He asks that all diocesan bishops (and their equivalent) preside over similar celebrations involving Catholics in every state of life around the world. (Read in full at EWTN)

Advent begins this Saturday night…candles in churches and homes will be lit…and prayers will be prayed. But this Advent will be different in its introductory tone in many Churches around the world who have pledged to pray in union with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI for “All Nascent Human Life”. The Pope has made an unprecedented request to all Bishops around the world to reserve first vespers on November 27th for the specific intention of all life on the verge of coming into existence. The Unborn.

The timing for these prayers for children not-yet born, sets the tone for our anticipation of the Christ-child anew. It is also a reminder to us that our Lord, too, began His earthly life in a precarious state of complete dependence upon a woman for all nourishment while being carried for nine months in Mary’s womb. Advent turns our gaze to the anticipation of His coming, and preparation of the great feast of Christmas, and yet, it is the anticipation with the Christ child for the birth of every child.

Are we ready to welcome him? Let us prepare our hearts for the Lord, in our prayers for every child in waiting to be born.

__What Others are Saying __

Prayer materials have been developed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the Pontifical Council for the Family, and are available on the USCCB Pro-Life site.

You may also feel a desire to write a note of support of this project to the Pope at the Yes! for Benedict website.

Thanksgiving with the Holy Father By Mary McClusky

Life News: Pope’s Vigil for Nascent Human Life “Could not be more Important

National Catholic Register

Catholic News Agency: Spanish Bishops Encourage Participation

Zenit: Holy Father Urges Participation in Pro-Life Vigil

Fr. Z explains the word nascent very well.

Lisa Graas: Pope Benedict to Celebrate “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life”


Prayer of Pope John Paul II

O Mary, bright dawn of the new world,

Mother of the living,

to you do we entrust the cause of life

Look down, O Mother,

upon the vast numbers

of babies not allowed to be born,

of the poor whose lives are made difficult,

of men and women

who are victims of brutal violence,

of the elderly and the sick killed

by indifference or out of misguided mercy.

Grant that all who believe in your Son

may proclaim the Gospel of life

with honesty and love

to the people of our time.

Obtain for them the grace

to accept that Gospel

as a gift ever new,

the joy of celebrating it with gratitude

throughout their lives

and the courage to bear witness to it

resolutely, in order to build,

together with all people of good will,

the civilization of truth and love,

to the praise and glory of God,

the Creator and lover of life.

– Evangelium Vitae, 105