If we could have traveled to a poor sharecropping farm in central Italy early in the 20th century, we would have seen a humble building – formerly a cheese factory – sheltering two families of tenant farmers.
“The heart that resembles that of Christ more than any other is without a doubt the Heart of Mary, His Immaculate Mother, and for this very reason the liturgy holds them up together for our veneration” (Pope Benedict XVI).
Saint Anthony of Padua (1195 – 1231), whose feast we celebrate on June 13th, enjoys popular renown, of course, as the patron saint of finding lost articles. Two lesser-known facts about him, however, are that he was Portuguese and not Italian by birth, and that he began his life in religion as an Augustinian, not as a Franciscan friar.
“When they entered the city, they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:13 – 14).
The lovely month of May – Mary’s month, the month of the Mother of God – comes to a close most beautifully with one of the most moving Marian feasts, the Feast of the Visitation. Recounted in the Gospel of Saint Luke (1:39 – 56), the passage describes Our Lady’s journey from her home in Nazareth to the hill country of Judea to spend time with her kinswoman Elizabeth; but this was no typical visit.
These lyrics are a familiar component of the annual May Crowning, the Marian devotion which takes place in many parishes around the time when we celebrate Mother’s Day. This rite is one traditional aspect of the dedication of the month of May to Mary, the Mother of God, and also our Mother.
While the annual Feast of Saint Joseph, celebrated on March 19th, is familiar in many parts of the world, the second date on the Church calendar dedicated to him is perhaps not quite so well known. Each year, May 1st commemorates another title of this beloved saint, that of Saint Joseph the Worker.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala (Jn 19:25)
On this Good Friday, I choose to be there, I want to be there, standing with Our Lady. I know she can rely on the other women and Saint John, but perhaps another loving presence will be a source of added comfort for her.
Meditating on Sacred Scripture has long been recognized as a worthwhile spiritual practice, particularly so during the season of Lent. In this reflection, we’ll focus on four familiar Scriptural scenes from Jesus’ final hours on earth. These vignettes offer an opportunity to reflect and meditate on an exchange of looks between Jesus and one other significant player in the narrative of our salvation.
The Sorrowful Mysteries, traditionally prayed on Tuesday and Friday year-round, are a familiar element of Our Lady’s rosary. During the solemn season of Lent, however, the Sorrowful Mysteries in particular take on a deeper, more spiritually challenging significance – making them an even more valuable tool for our Lenten prayer and contemplation.