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The Call to Evangelization has been Heralded by three Popes and the Clergy. So how do we answer their Call?

Evangelism                                                      en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

The term, “New Evangelization” was introduced by Pope St. John Paul II, back in 1983. This call to evangelize has been carried forward by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. Even today, our priests often tell us to go out and evangelize.

Evangelization by the laity makes sense. A simple way to understand the problem is to consider that only 22% of those who say they are Catholics attend Mass on Sunday. Incredibly, 70% of those that profess Catholicism do not believe in the Real Presence. Those two things, the Mass and the Real Presence, are the nucleus of our faith. How can so many be so lost yet still say they are Catholic?

We Catholics have heard much about how we must evangelize. Unfortunately, most Catholics still do not know how to do it. Most of us even avoid discussion with each other about controversial topics in the Church. Indeed, none of us are going to stand on a milk crate on a street corner, hold up a Bible, and say, “Repent, repent.” So…how should Catholics evangelize?

The first thing we must realize is that we are part of a team The name of the team is Catholic/Christian. The owner and general manager is Jesus  The next position is that of“coach.” There are different coaching levels such as cardinals and bishops. But we, the laity, have one regular weekly coach. He would be the priest saying the Sunday Mass we attend.

Standing at the ambo after reading the Gospel, he could prepare us for the week ahead. The ambo is his “bully pulpit,” meaning he can say anything he wants. The good part for him is that no one will say anything back or challenge him (at least I have never seen that happen). He would be our coach, and we parishioners, his team.

When we leave  Church, that should mean  the kickoff has been made and  it is “game on.”  We, the members of the coach’s team, will primarily and foremost behave according to the commandments. They are what we should treat as the “fundamentals.”  However, we need to know more than the fundamentals. We need “coach” to talk to us about what is going on within the church and is on everyone’s mind. We need to know how to confront the other team’s game plan. By the way, the other team members consist of all those who reject and/or have fallen away from our faith.

We cannot evangelize if we do not know what Holy Mother Church teaches about certain things that are heard about every day. We rarely hear about church teaching on euthanasia and birth-control which are not permitted by the church? How about being told that gay marriage is not allowed and that the church only approves of marriage between a man and a woman.

You can be in full communion with the church and be a homosexual. But you cannot have a sexual relationship. The sex act is for married partners, a man, and a woman, only.  I am a widower and therefore a single man. I am not allowed to have a sexual relationship unless I remarry. Priests take a vow of celibacy and do not have sex.

Here is a “newsflash: We have to eat, and sleep, and breathe, to live. We do NOT have to have sex to live. If we abstain, we will not die.  How often have our coaches talked about those things as we sit in the pews?

There is more the coaches could help us with. Our game plan needs to expand. We need to hear about how divorce and getting remarried without an annulment is against church teaching. We need to know the rules about marriage, contraception, and birth control. And we need to be ready to talk about these things and not be afraid. And the coaches have to not worry about being politically correct or socially sensitive. They are there to help save our souls, not to make us happy. That can come second.

Alone, we can always be setting Christian example by giving a smile to someone passing by, saying hello to a stranger, opening a door for someone, giving some money to a person in need, or saying grace publicly in a restaurant. Those things can be our evangelizing warm-ups.

However, we do have an evangelization technique available to most of us. It is called social media. My method of being a “lone evangelist” is via social media.  How many of you use Facebook and/or Twitter? How about Linkedin or Pinterest? Youtube? Snapchat? Google? Chrome? Tumblr? Instagram?

Go on Facebook and post, “I LOVE JESUS.” That’s it—you are spreading  the “Good News.” We all can be evangelists right from our own homes. How easy is that? Or is it? You may lose some friends. I have for sure. I have also gained some. In fact, I have been kicked off Facebook twice for posting something about Our Lady.

Facebook seems to be primarily for folks to share about themselves and what they are doing, how they are doing, and how their friends and families are. Most people will not spread the “GOOD NEWS” on Facebook. But why not? You can post a picture of a child to promote life or an image of people feeding the homeless. Those are always Christian messages. The fact of the matter is, the laity must help spread the Word. The clergy needs us…and we need their coaching prowess. We are all in it together.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

 

St. Vincent de Paul—Some facts about his life you may not know

St. Vincent de Paul                                         Wikipedia commons

By Larry Peterson

I have been a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society for twenty-five years. At present I am not active but being part of this organization has allowed me to interact and work with the least and most marginalized of God’s people. My affiliation with the society has allowed me to experience some of the most uplifting moments of my life.

Those who reached out to us were always in dire straits. They had no food, had been evicted, could not pay for life-saving medication, had no water, had no gas or electricity among other necessities of life. There were even those who had no shoes.  Somehow, we always managed to help anyone who came to us. If we did not have the capabilities, we were able to forward them to a place that could.

I mention those things because it all goes back to the example and inspiration displayed by one man; St. Vincent de Paul. On his feast day of September 27, here are a few things you may not have known about this great saint.

  • The first one is; St. Vincent did NOT found the St. Vincent de Paul Society. It was named in his honor by Frederick Ozanam, the 20-year-old student who modeled the society after St. Vincent’s works and teachings. The highlighted link will give you Frederick’s story.

 

  • Vincent de Paul was captured by pirates and sold into slavery. Desperate for money Vincent was notified of an inheritance he had received from an elderly woman who knew him. He had made the journey to Bourdeaux to claim the estate. Disappointed that the inheritance was mostly needed to satisfy a debt, Vincent headed back to Toulouse. The ship he had taken was attacked by pirates and most of the crew was killed or wounded, including the captain. Vincent and the other passengers were taken into chains and sold into slavery and taken to Tunis. Vincent remained a slave for two years before escaping with another and making it back to France.

 

  • Vincent could have been a “community ” Upon returning to France he was working in a church in the country. The area was so poor many people actually died from starvation. Vincent was horrified and began contacting old friends, many of whom were wealthy, asking for help. He formed groups and they went from house to house seeking clothing, food, and furniture. They were so successful that word spread and other parishes asked to be taught how to organize such efforts. Vincent’s organizational skills began being emulated all over France.

 

  • Vincent de Paul was the founder of a religious order called The Vincentians. Under Vincent’s rule, those who entered ministry pledged to devote their lives to the spiritual and material needs of the poor. Later on Vincent, along with Louise de Marillac, founded the Sisters of Charity. The work started by Vincent de Paul expanded to opening hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the mentally ill. His work also included serving prisoners and slaves.

 

Vincent de Paul died on September 27, 1660. He was canonized a saint on August 13, 1729 by Pope Benedict XIII.

It is not sufficient for me to love God if I do not love my neighbor. I belong to God and to the poor.” –St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul, please pray for us.

 

 

 

Stabbed repeatedly, she kept saying over and over, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” Then she breathed her last.

Blessed Rani Maria Vittalil                              wikipediacommon.org

By Larry Peterson

She was born in a place called Kerala, a state on the southwest coast of India. The date was January 29, 1954, and she would be the second of seven children born to Paily and Eliswa Vattalil. They named her Mariam after the Blessed Mother, and she was baptized one week later in the Church of St.Thomas. Mariam received both her First Holy Communion and Confirmation on April 30, 1966, and never missed a catechism class. Deep inside her was a call to serve God, and the only person she told that too was her cousin, Cicily, who also felt a calling.

When Mariam finished high school, she joined the Franciscan Clarist Congregation in nearby Kidangoor. She took the religious name of Rani Maria. Her cousin Cicily joined also and chose the name, Soni Maria. They both began their aspirancy (initiation) period on July 3, 1971, and completed it on October 3, 1972. The cousins made their first profession of vows on May 1, 1974. After a year and a half, Rani was sent to St. Mary’s Convent in Bijnor, arriving Christmas Eve, 1975.

Sister Rani Maria took her final vows on May 22, 1980, and continued teaching school. In July of 1983, she was transferred to St. Hormis Church in Ankamaly, Kerala as the new coordinator for social activities. It was during this time that she earned her degree in sociology from Rewa University.

Soon after getting her degree, Sister Rani began working with the poor and deprived. She was extremely caring and had deep compassion for poor people. She started to make enemies of the landlords and money-lenders. They had the people under their control taking advantage of them daily, and they did not want anyone, no matter whom, to disrupts their operations.

Sister Rani began organizing the locals who were exploited by the loan sharks. She developed self-help groups and taught the poor to work together to overcome the obstacles to their daily lives. She also explained to the uneducated poor how to get available government services that were available to them and which they did not know about. The poor people of the area began calling her “Rani of Indore—the Queen of Indore.” But the money lenders and others who preyed on the downtrodden decided Sister had to be eliminated.

As was her routine, Sister Rani woke up early on February 25, 1995, to go to daily Mass. She and another sister hurried down the street to the bus stop. After Mass, Sister Rani got on the bus which was heading to the county offices to pick up and drop off some various paperwork. She then planned to get another bus to go see her parents.

The sister who had accompanied Sister Rani to Mass left her and headed back to the convent. At the next stop three men boarded the bus. They sat close to Rani and started taunting her yelling profanities at her. She sat quietly, frightened and not daring to say anything. The taunting and name-calling continued for a short time. Then, one of the men, whose name was Samundar Singh, stood up and asked the driver to stop the bus. The driver did as Singh was told.

Singh got off the bus and broke a coconut against a rock. He then got back on the bus and began giving the pieces to the passengers. When he got to Sister Rani he mocked her by dangling a bit of coconut in front of her. Then the man pulled a long knife from his cloak and began stabbing Sister Rani. First he plunged the knife into her stomach and then over and over into her helpless body. The people heard saying over and over as she was being stabbed “Jesus,” “Jesus,” “Jesus.”

When Singh was finished killing her he had stabbed her 54 times. He dragged Sister Rani’s bloody corpse into the street and left it there. As the attack went on the passengers were so terrified they never moved. Once it was over they fled in terror.

The police contacted the nuns, who retrieved the butchered body of Sister Rani Maria. They took her back to the convent and cleaned her and prepared her to lie in state. Thousands of people came to Sister Rani’s funeral in the cathedral at Indore. Many bishops and hundreds of clergy were present at the Mass. They all had loved the little nun who had worked so long and hard to help the poor. A day of mourning was put in effect for the entire country.

The hired killer, Samundar Singh, was sentenced to life in prison. Abandoned and alone, he was bitter and forsaken.  But Father Michael Poraltukara, (who the people called Swami Sadhananda) kept visiting him. One day Father asked him if he would be willing to meet Sister Selmy Paul, the true blood sister of Sister Rani Maria. It took a few visits, but finally Singh agreed to meet his victim’s sister.

On August 31, 2002, Sister Selmy Paul, accompanied by Father Michael, visited the prison to see her sister’s murderer. Singh, a Hindu, was shocked when Sister Selmy offered him her forgiveness. He was overwhelmed by the nun and began pleading with her to forgive him for his crime. Incredibly, through the grace of God, the following year Sister Rani Maria’s mother visited Singh.

Demonstrating the power of  God’s unbridled love, she kissed both of Singh’s hands in forgiveness. Then the entire family came and offered him their forgiveness. They also asked the court to pardon him. Samundar Singh was released in 2006. Their Christian actions changed       Singh’s life. He asked to be baptized and embraced Christianity. The Vittalil family not only forgave Singh they welcomed him to his family as one of their own.

On November 4, 2017, Samundar Singh was present as Sister Rani Maria, with the approval of Pope St. John Paul II,  was beatified by Cardinal Angelo Amato in Indore, India. Singh stood and wept during the entire ceremony.

Blessed  Regina Mariam of Vattalil, pray for us.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

Many Climate Change proponents are the actual “Deniers” of one Absolute: The Truth of Life

Life and Climate Change”                                                 public domain

By Larry Peterson

You cannot embrace the child’s home and then kill the child.

The drums of Climate Change are pounding harder and harder every day. School children are being indoctrinated about the cataclysm posed to destroy the Mother Planet. Purveyors of the “existential threat” about to waste us are in our face 24/7. We hear about the “science” of climate change and that we should embrace it. If you do not, you are labeled a “denier.” We have been told that Miami will be underwater in three years and the world will end in ten.  The projected Ice Age of the year 2000 is not happening, and trouble is coming to get us.

In religion, if you deny a tenet of faith such as the Divinity of Jesus Christ, you would be classified as a “heretic.”  It seems we have finally advanced the theory of Climate Change into the Church of Climate Change. Yes, it is a theory, and a theory means MAYBE or POSSIBLY (Evolution is a theory—not a fact; Gravity is a Law—it is a fact).

The Climate Change hysteria reached new heights yesterday, September 18, 2019. That was the day that NBC, the National Broadcasting Company, presented to the world the  Climate Change Confessional, a place where Climate Change “deniers” can confess their Climate Change “sins.” Yes, they can admit their sins anonymously, cleansing their consciences of harm they caused against the planet. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments about 3500 years ago.  Now, in the 21st century, NBC has given the world  six Climactic Commandments: they are as follows:

  • Thou shalt not use plastic, including straws, bottles, etc.
  • Thou shalt not eat meat (cows, pigs, turkey), etc.
  • Thou shalt not use energy (natural resources such as oil, natural gas, coal) etc.
  • Thou shalt not use transportation (cars, planes, all vehicles propelled by fossil fuels).
  • Thou shalt not use paper (does that mean toilet paper?—must mean paper plates)
  • Thou shalt not waste food (i.e., leftover kale must be eaten ).

Those are the first six commandments of Climate Change. More are sure to follow. The good news is there are “climate sins” posted anonymously by others for you to reference. Sort of an examination of your climate conscience. Yes, my friends, you can unburden yourself of your “Climate Sins” in the  NBC “Climate Confessional” and do it anonymously. The concept is not new; we Catholics have been going to Confession for 2000 years. (The big difference is a priest will give his life rather than violate the Seal of Confession. I don’t know if an NBC employee would go that far).

The Democratic candidates running for president are all in favor of abortion. Most of them believe in abortion up to birth. Many, including myself, (the father of a stillborn daughter who did not survive past the sixth month of pregnancy) consider that infanticide. The definition of infanticide is as follows:

Infanticide

[in-fan-tuh-sahyd]

noun

  • the act of killing an infant
  • the practice of killing newborn infants
  • a person who kills an infant

 

Many people proclaim that they believe in God. Many proclaim the Bible as God’s word. I am a Catholic, but this piece is non-denominational. It is for any and all who believe in a Creator. Many who proclaim God proclaim their fears about Climate Change and want to save the planet. Mother Earth is their home—it is my home. It is every living being’s home. So that makes sense—let us be kind to our home.

However, I believe that many of those who are pro-abortion also proclaim that they believe in God. It follows that they all believe in His creation, the Universe, wherein our planet resides. The following Democratic candidates are all in when it comes to Climate Change. They are also all in when it comes to being pro-abortion. They are all hypocrites and include:

  • Joe Biden—Catholic
  • Robert Beto O’Rourke Catholic
  • Cory Booker—Baptist
  • Kamala Harris—Baptist
  • Amy Klobuchar—United Church of Christ
  • Bernie Sanders—Jewish
  • Elizabeth Warren—Methodist
  • John Delaney—Catholic
  • Andrew Yang—Christian Reformed Church
  • Pete Buttigieg—Episcopalian

 

Proclaiming your belief in God and His creation and wanting to protect it is a noble thing to do. But you cannot leave out the most important part of God’s creation and make-believe it is NOTHING just to save your politics. It is not only hypocritical it is downright shameful.

All the religions listed above proclaim and teach the Ten Commandments. They are the Law handed down by God himself to Moses on Mount Sinai. That is the way it is and had been so for over three thousand years. If you want to reject it and mock it, knock yourself out. But don’t stand there and proclaim your Godly ways when you willingly are ready to destroy God’s most precious creation, a newborn child. Yes—the most important and magnificent creation of the very God you proclaim.

The Bible says that God made the Universe out of nothing. It took Him six biblical days, and he began with light and then the heavens and the planets and the land  and the oceans and the plants followed by the living things and finally, on the sixth day, He made His masterpiece; the Human Being, both man and woman and told them to be fruitful and multiply. God looked at what He had done and was pleased. Then, on day seven,  He took a well-deserved nap.

So I ask; how can people of faith embrace the parts of creation that they can use for their advantage, i.e., Climate Change and reject with a dogged determination the commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill.’ You cannot because doing so makes you all “DENIERS.” The science is in—The science is fact—human life begins at the moment of Conception. You cannot embrace the child’s home and then kill the child.

Yes—all you promoters of infanticide and partial-birth and third-trimester abortion are the real DENIERS of truth. You have compromised your integrity and character for a political agenda.

NBC might consider referring those they have directed to Climate Confessionals to the pastors of their respective churches. When they get there they can ask them their opinions on Climate Confessions.

 

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

This Archbishop sold his bed and used the money to help orphans; meet Thomas of Villanova, the “Father of the Poor”

St. Thomas de Villanova                                                       public domain

By Larry Peterson

Tomas Garcia y Martinez (Thomas Garcia) was born in 1488, and he might be a prime example of how a father and mother can influence their son. They not only taught him the Faith, but they also showed him how to be charitable. His dad, Alphonsus, was a miller and along with his wife, Lucia, distributed food and supplies to the poor on a regular basis.

Having spent his formative years watching and helping his parents help others, this trait became ingrained in Thomas. He would grow up and spend his life doing the same thing. In spite of his family’s wealth, Thomas often was dressed in a minimal amount of clothing. That was because he kept giving his own clothes to the poor.

Thomas was not only a devout and generous young man, he was also intellectually gifted. By the age of 16, he was able to enter the prestigious University of Alcala located close to Madrid. He became a teacher of arts, logic, and philosophy and within ten years he had become a full Professor of Philosophy. However, after his father died, Thomas decided to leave academia and accept his calling to a religious life.

Thomas took his inheritance and gave it to the poor. In 1516, he moved on to Salamanca and joined the Augustinian friars taking the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. Two years later he was ordained to the priesthood.  He then began teaching theology to his peers and quickly gained a reputation as an eloquent and compelling preacher. The Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, heard Thomas preach and blurted out, “This monsignor’s words can even move stones.”  Thomas was appointed as one of the councilors of states and a court preacher.

He condemned his fellow priests and bishops for their loose morals and secularized ways. He had a great devotion to the Blessed Mother and did his best to promote devotion to her and the Holy Rosary. During these years he served as a Prior of a monastery, a Visitor General representing the Superior General, and became one of the first Augustinian friars to arrive in Mexico in the New World.  He was offered the post of Archbishop of Granada but adamantly refused. However, in the year 1544, he was ordered by his superior to accept the appointment as Archbishop of Valencia in Spain. Reluctantly, he did as he was told.

The appointment of Friar Thomas as the archbishop did not affect his humble presence in any way. He arrived for his installation as the archbishop wearing the same shoddy monastic habit he had worn for years. He even dis his own sewing and mending to keep it wearable. He was given a donation to refurbish his residence but gave it to a hospital in need of equipment and repairs. Immediately after his installation, he began visiting local prisons ordering changes to be made to alleviate the inhumane conditions.

Archbishop Villanova became known as the “Father of the Poor.” He never ceased in his charitable efforts helping orphans, poor women who had no dowry, and the sick. He tried to come up with solutions to help the poor like giving them work. He would say, “Charity is not just giving, it is removing the need of those who receive charity, liberating them when possible.”

Scores of needy people would come every day to his door for help. All would receive a meal, a cup of wine, and a coin. While continuing his life of monastic austerity, he managed to improve the spiritual lives and the living conditions of his faithful servants. While doing these things he also continually worked to promote education, of restore religious orthodoxy, and reform the lifestyles of clergy and laity.

Thomas of Villanova, Archbishop of Valencia, died from heart disease on September 8, 1555, the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Alexander VII canonized him on November 1, 1658.

His legacy includes being the namesake of Villanova University near Philadelphia, St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida, and Villanova College in Brisbane, Australia.

St. Thomas of Villanova, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

On September 14 we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross— Question: Why do we honor the Cross that Jesus died upon?

Celebrating Easter in NYC 1956                                                 public domain

By Larry Peterson

The wooden cross was used as an instrument of torture for the vilest of criminals, fastening them to it and allowing them to hang there until they died. So why do we honor and revere the Cross that Jesus died on?  Because Jesus Himself said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23) The cross for us is an instrument not only our own self-sacrifice but honoring it unites us to Christ on His Cross. We cannot get to the Resurrection without going first to the Cross.

Historically, (and according to Tradition) we know that after the Resurrection of Our Lord, the Jewish and Roman authorities did all that they could to hide Jesus’ tomb. The tomb and Calvary were very close to each other, and the Romans buried the sites under mounds of dirt so no one could find them. Underneath the tons of earth was also the True Cross. Over the next two centuries, pagan temples were built on the spot, and the site was more or less hidden and ignored.

Things changed dramatically in the year 306 A.D. That was when Constantine the Great became Emperor of Rome. In 313 A.D. he issued the Edict of Milan. This document approved of religious tolerance for Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. Constantine’s mother, Saint Helena, dreamed that she must go to Jerusalem to find the True Cross. She followed this inspiration, and in 326 she made a pilgrimage to the city to visit the Holy Sepulchre and to locate the True Cross.

History tells us that a Jewish man by the name of Judas, aware of the tradition of the “Hidden Cross” knew where to find it. It was quite close to the spot Helena, and the workers were excavating to uncover the Holy Sepulchre.  He approached Helena and her workers to tell them he knew where it was. Helena, believing God had sent this man to her, gladly followed him.

The ruins, rubble, and dirt that had been accumulated on the spot over the years were painstakingly removed. In due time, three crosses were found on the site.  Tradition says that the sign with the inscription “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (“Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”) was still attached to the True Cross. (The more common tradition says that the sign was not there but was found close by). So what did they do to determine which was the True Cross?

Saint Helena and the Bishop of Jerusalem, Saint Macarius, decided to take a piece from each cross and take it to a dying woman. They assumed the wood from the True Cross would cure her. They were right, and the piece from the one cross did heal her. Then they brought the body of a dead man to the site and laid it on each of the crosses. The same cross that had cured the dying woman restored life to the dead man. Helena then knew in her heart that she had found the True Cross.

She journeyed back to Rome to inform her son, Constantine. He ordered two churches built; one at the site of the Holy Sepulchre and one at the site of Mount Calvary. The churches were dedicated on September 13 and 14 in the year 335.  The feast began to take root and spread out from Jerusalem to other provinces and by the year 720 A.D. the celebration was universal.

Today the Feast Day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated all through Christendom. Most Catholic Rites such as the Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic, commemorate the day on September 14. The Syriac Church of the East celebrates it on September 13 while the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Rite Catholics celebrate it on August 1. It does not really matter because all the various Catholic rites celebrate and honor the True Cross as founded by St. Helena in 326 A.D.

The Entrance Antiphon for the Mass on the Feast of the Exaltation (September 14) of the Holy Cross reads as follows:

“We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

In Whom is our salvation,  life, and Resurrection

Through Whom we are saved and delivered.”

Never forget that every time we make the Sign of the Cross we honor it and the Man-God that died on it.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

The Feast Day of the Holy Name of Mary is September 12: Why do we honor Her name?

Honoring the Holy Name of Mary                                                wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Why do we honor the name of Our Lady and hold it in such high esteem? Why not just honor her as the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus? Why did Pope Innocent XI, in 1683, proclaim that September 12 is the Feast day of the Most Holy Name of Mary?  ( In 1970, with the revised Roman Missal, the feast day was removed from the calendar. However, Pope St. John Paul II, reinstituted the feast in 2003 as an “optional memorial.” Check your missalettes; it is there).

The name, Mary,  has its origins in ancient languages such as; Aramaic Maryam; Old Testament Greek Mariam; Hebrew, Myriam, and from the New Testament Latin, Maria.

Some background about Our Lady and her name is as follows: It begins with why she was named, Mary. Her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne, inspired by God, gave her the name of Mary. The name means a number of things; it means, ‘Lady,”  “The Enlightened One,” “The Light Giver,” “Star of the Sea,” “Myrrh of the Sea,” with  “Stella Maris,” being the favorite. Most importantly, just by saying  her holy name is saying a prayer. It pleases God and has power over Satan. Its significance is so profound.

The feast day o\f the Most Holy Name of Mary originated in 1513 in Cuenca, Spain. At the time it was a local celebration and was held on September 15. In 1587, Pope Sixtus V moved the feast day to September 17.  In 1622, Pope Gregory XV expanded the feast to the Archdiocese of Toledo, and in 1671, the entire kingdom of Spain was included.

But in the year of 1683, this feast day was inserted into the Roman Calendar. That was when Pope Innocent XI, made it a feast everywhere in the Catholic world. The feast was designated to be celebrated on September 12, four days after the birthday of Our Lady. Why did this happen?

The Battle of Lepanto took place in 1571 resulting in a great victory by the Holy League organized by Pope St. Pius V.  The naval forces of the Holy League conquered the overwhelming power of the invading Muslims. The date was October 7 and this day is celebrated as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  It was on this day that Catholics all through Europe prayed the Rosary for the Holy League Navy. Their victory saved Christianity in Europe.

In 1683, a huge Muslim army of over 300,000 had marched through Hungary destroying everything in its path. The army was now on Austria’s border preparing to vanquish Vienna. The papal nuncio and King Leopold of Austria pleaded with King Jan Sobieski of Poland, to help them stop the invading Muslims. King Sobieski immediately agreed to help. He had beaten back the invading Muslims a few years before, and although the army he commanded was small, he was undeterred.

On his march to Austria, King Sobieski and his army passed by the Shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa, The King  pleaded with the Blessed Mother by invoking her name. He asked for her blessing and intercession. King Sobieski, allied with German warriors, tricked the Muslims into thinking they were retreating. As Sobieski’s forces feigned retreat the Germans attacked from the rear. The Muslims became confused and fled Vienna and Christian Europe. King Sobieski presented the Muslim standard, which read “Death to the Infidel”, to Pope Innocent XI. The Holy Father proclaimed the Polish King as the savior of Christendom.

King Sobieski triumphantly entered Vienna on September 12. He attended Mass and praised the Blessed Virgin as the cause and reason for their great victory. Pope Innocent XI thereupon declared September 12, as a date to honor the Most Holy Name of Mary, whose motherly intervention had saved Christendom.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux says:

“O most holy Virgin Mary, your name is so sweet and admirable that one cannot say it without becoming inflamed with love toward God and You.”

Blessed Raymond Jordano says:

“that however hardened and diffident a heart may be, the name of this most Blessed Virgin has such efficacy, that if it is only pronounced that heart will be wonderfully softened.”

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019