Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day María!

"All generations will call me blessed."
 – Luke 1:48

Mother Mary -- Queen of Heaven
Happy Mother's Day greetings to all mothers and all future mothers! And a very special Mother's Day greeting to the Theotokos, Mother of God, the blessed Virgin Mary! Remember that May is traditionally the month of Mary and give special devotion to Our Lady during this month.

On a more somber note, we can dedicate the month of May to pray for the Church in China. Catholics and other Christians suffer under constant persecution by the communist government of China. May is a special month for Chinese Catholics. The Church in China is consecrated to the Virgin Mary under her title "Help of Christians". The feast day of Our Lady, Help of Christians, is celebrated May 24. The Sheshan Basilica is a favorite pilgrimage site for Chinese Catholics at this time of year.

In 2008 Pope Benedict XVI dedicated the following prayer to the Catholic Church in China and declared May 24 to be an annual world day of prayer for the Church in China. The reaction of the Chinese authorities in 2008 was to ban pilgrimages to the Sheshan Basilica.
Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,
venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title "Help of Christians",
the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.
We come before you today to implore your protection.
Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them
along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be
a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.

When you obediently said "yes" in the house of Nazareth,
you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb
and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.
You willingly and generously cooperated in that work,
allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul,
until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,
standing beside your Son, who died that we might live.

From that moment, you became, in a new way,
the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith
and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.
Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed
with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.
Grant that your children may discern at all times,
even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China,
who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.
May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world,
and of the world to Jesus.
In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high,
offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.
Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,
ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.
Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

Our Lady of Sheshan

Our Lady of China

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