Tag Archives: Blessed Mother

things I will miss (1 of …)

28 Aug

Knowing that in ten months I will be leaving my beloved St. Andrew parish, this place and these people, I am more and more noticing things that I will miss. Last night as I was closing the blinds of my bedroom windows, preparing to prepare myself for bed, I looked out my back window. “There is something I will miss.”

I took three photos on my iPad, and deleted two: one with a stray cat roaming into the bottom right corner heading toward a drink of water from the fountain, and one that cut off the top of the statue and the top of the cross on top of the grotto. This one was the best of the three:

Things I Will Miss 01

I tried to enjoy the scene fully, hoping to engrave it in my memory.

Then I prayed a Hail Mary …

… and closed the blinds.


an orphan priest

23 May


When I make pilgrimage to the Holy Land in June, I will take this photo with me, and will try to remember to pull it out and look at it at any pilgrimage site at which Mary is remembered or at any personal time that I think of Mary.

With this photo I will carry one of me and my mother, Isabelle, standing together at the ambo at St. Andrew, on what occasion I do not remember.

In a recent talk to seminarians, Pope Francis urged them to seek the help of the Virgin Mary if they feel spiritually troubled.

“First of all go to the Mantle of Mary and wait until there is a bit of calm. Some of you will tell me…in this time of so many modern goods – psychiatry, psychology – in this time of turbulence, I think it would be better to see a psychiatrist to get help. But – do not dismiss this – but first go to your Mother, because a priest who forgets the Virgin Mary, especially in times of turbulence, is missing something. He is an orphan priest, the one who forgets his Mother.”

At the time of my mother’s death in 2006, it dawned on me that I was an orphan. I have never forgotten that – and I have never forgotten her. I still miss her at times, times when I least expect it.

A Mexican nun told me at the time of my mother’s death that I now have two mothers in heaven. She really meant it. Honestly, I still do not feel it.

I will take the photos with me, the one above and this one:


with tears and prayers

2 Mar

Women of Nazareth, Women of Hope: Basma, Hala and Mary

9 Dec

On yesterday’s Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception we heard Luke’s proclamation: “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth …”

Hearing Gabriel’s greeting to Mary of Nazareth, I cannot help but send a greeting to two other women of Nazareth: Basma and Hala. These two extraordinary Christian women are counsellors in Catholic schools in Nazareth. Hala and Basma visited Cincinnati with other teachers from Latin Patriarchate schools from the West Bank and from Jordan, as part of a project called HOPE: Holy Land Outreach to Palestinian Educators. They are pictured below receiving gifts at the Farewell Dinner, in a photo taken by Mark Bowen.

Mary of Nazareth, responding to God’s desire and invitation to enter our world as one like us, brought Hope into the world, translate, brought Jesus, who is our hope, our only hope, into the world.

Basma and Hala, women of Nazareth, responding to God’s desire and invitation to bring reconciliation and justice into our world, bring hope to their students and build opportunities and dignity into their lives.

Beneath the Basilica of the Annunciation, in their beloved hometown of Nazareth, Basma and Hala visit often the grotto of the Annunciation, the very place of the conversation between God’s angel and God’s mother.In this place, as Mary did, so Hala and Basma respond with, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Greetings, Basma and Hala. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women. May the angel never depart from you.

On Mary Immaculate: Arduous Duties and Sublime Virtues

8 Dec

 La Purisima Inmaculada Concepcion by Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1678, now in Museo del Prado, Spain 

“We take this occasion, brethren, to communicate to you the determination, unanimously adopted by us, to place ourselves and all entrusted to our charge throughout the United States, under the special patronage of the holy Mother of God, whose Immaculate Conception is venerated by the piety of the faithful throughout the Catholic Church.

By the aid of her prayers, we entertain the confident hope that we will be strengthened to perform the arduous duties of our ministry, and that you will be enabled to practice the sublime virtues, of which her life presents the most perfect example.”

— Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of the United States Sixth Provincial Council Baltimore 5 May 1846 —

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.

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