Mary Our Blessed Mother
Monday, June 6, 2022
In 2018, Pope Francis established the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, to be observed annually on the Monday after Pentecost.
The readings for this feast (see below) recall that Mary received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost with the Apostles. At this time, she understood what it meant to say “yes” to God and saw the grace bestowed on us all by her son, Jesus Christ. At the cross, Jesus gave Mary to the Church to be a mother to us all.
Daily Mass Readings for the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
- First Reading – Genesis 3:9-15, 20: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”
- Alternate First Reading – Acts 1:12-14: “All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 87: “Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.”
- Gospel – John 19:25-34: “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son.”
More resources and ideas for the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
Saturday, April 16, 2022
St. Bernadette was a young French girl to whom Our Lady of Lourdes appeared in a series of apparitions in 1858. She was a miller’s daughter and she suffered from asthma.
Although her reports of the apparitions were initially not believed and she was ridiculed, eventually led to a shrine being built in Lourdes France. It has become a popular pilgrimage site for people seeking healing from the water in the spring there.
She is the patron saint of Bodily illness, shepherds and shepherdesses, against poverty, and people ridiculed for their faith. Her feast day is April 16.
Celebrate St. Bernadette by learning a little more about her or doing an activity related to the shrine at Lourdes:
Friday, March 25, 2022
The Feast of the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25. This feast day commemorates the announcement of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus and it celebrates her “Fiat” (“Let it be done”) in reply.
Mass readings for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord:
- First reading – Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10: “the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 40: “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.”
- Second Reading – Hebrews 10:4-10: “we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
- Gospel – Luke 1:26-38: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Ideas and resources for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Friday, February 11, 2022
Our Lady of Lourdes is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in honor of her apparitions to St. Bernadette in Lourdes France. St. Bernadette was both poor and sickly. Mary appeared to her, declaring “I am the Immaculate Conception.” This was just a few years after Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. Our Blessed Mother treated St. Bernadette with respect which was not something she was used to due to her low station in society.
Our Lady of Lourdes appeared to St. Bernadette multiple times. On one occasion, she directed her to go to the spring and “drink at the spring and wash in it”. To this day people make pilgrimages to the spring due to belief in it’s healing properties. There have been over 60 confirmed miracles there.
Our Lady of Lourdes is the patron saint of bodily ills, sick people, and protection from diseases. Her feast day is February 11.
To honor Mary with youth on this day, learn more about the Immaculate Conception or add some fun with a water game.
The purpose of this reflection is to help youth understand what Mary’s fiat (“let it be done”) meant and to help them understand ways to say yes in today’s world.
Sometimes we say yes or no without thinking. Especially to questions we are used to answering. “Do you want fries with that?” Or to things we feel strongly about. “Do you like spinach?”
- What are some questions you can answer without thinking?
But bigger questions or unexpected questions can cause us to pause and think. “Are you going to the football game or Sue’s party this weekend?” “Would you kiss a frog for $20?” “What are you planning to do after high school?”
- Are there any questions you have been asked lately which you have had to think about?
- How do you decide how to answer difficult questions?
Read Luke 1:26-38:
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.Luke 1:26-38
In this gospel passage, the Angel Gabriel is telling Mary that she has been chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. To be clear here, Mary has a choice. Like all people, she has free will. So she has the option to say no.
She is clearly confused by this message.
First of all, consider that Mary is very young. Since she was betrothed, she was probably somewhere around 14 years old. She has never managed her own affairs. Her mother and father have directed her life up to this point.
The messenger is an angel. We don’t know how the angel appeared. Artwork often depicts angels as men or women with wings. But that is just the artist’s imagination. But it seems likely that the angel might have been somewhat frightening. For his first words are “Do not be afraid.”
Next consider that Mary is an unmarried woman. Her question “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” indicates that she is a virgin. She is betrothed to Joseph. If she becomes pregnant, he could have her stoned to death for apparently being unfaithful. If nothing else, Joseph will surely leave her. And then it is unlikely she will ever be married. This leaves her extremely vulnerable in the Jewish society of the day. Most single mothers in her time end up poor and desperate.
But she says yes.
Mary’s trust in God is complete. She knows that she is God’s beloved and He will care for her somehow. So despite the fear and the unknown future this pregnancy will cause, she says “Fiat.” “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
You have probably not been visited by an angel, but there are things in your life which God is asking you to say “yes” to.
- What is something, big or small, which God asks you to say yes to?
- What are some things which make it difficult to say yes to God?
- How can we remove some of the barriers to saying yes?
Pick one thing that God is asking you to say yes to. When you find it a challenge, spend a moment in prayer and repeat the word “Fiat” over and over again. If you are not in a space where you can say it out loud, repeat it in your thoughts. Then ask God to give you the strength to say yes.