Tag Archives: Immaculate Conception

inno ufficiale del Giubileo della Misericordia

8 Dec

The official anthem of the Jubilee of Mercy, which begins December 8, 2015

things I will miss (2 of …)

22 Mar


When I leave St. Andrew, I will miss the view from the presider’s chair.

As I sit down after praying the opening prayer at Mass, I look across the sanctuary toward the ambo. Lectors, like Ray, bow at the foot of the sanctuary steps toward the table of the Eucharist, and walk toward the table of the Word to proclaim the daily scriptures to us.

Their shirts do not always match the color of the bound lectionary, the book of readings, as they do in the picture above, but they are always standing beside the tabernacle and under the stained glass window of the Immaculate Conception.

Sometimes at the Saturday evening Mass the setting sun shines so brightly through that window that I cannot even see the lector or the lecturn, so blinding is the light coming our way through the “woman clothed with the sun.”

But always I enjoy the colors and the image of Mary with folded arms over her heart, an embrace that held Jesus as a newborn child at the manger and as the crucified savior at the foot of his cross: an embrace of motherhood, faithfulness and devotion.

It is heartening and encouraging to see her embrace of the Word, as we are trying to do the same.

Immaculate Conception 06

Yes, Ray, I will miss you, too

a sterling example

10 Jul

Archbishop Kurtz, during his homily on July 4 at the closing Mass of the Fortnight for Freedom at Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception referred to the Little Sisters of the Poor as a “sterling example.”

My mother and father both were under the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor, both dying under the prayer of the Sisters. I affirm and applaud the Archbishop’s words about the Little Sisters at 5:50.


Later in his message he returns to the Little Sisters at 11:20 and 13:15. But, as an admiring fan and advocate of the Little Sisters of the Poor, I find the minutes beginning at 5:50 to be the ones when my head was nodding in agreement and my heart was beating with affection and gratitude.

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.

a bit of Spiritual Genius or a God-Incidence

8 Dec

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Revelation 12:1)

The stained glass window in the sanctuary of our church depicts Mary with head bowed and tilted downward, and with arms folded at her heart. Was it a stroke of spiritual genius or a God-incidence that this window is the one nearest the tabernacle? It is as if she is looking down lovingly at her son in the tabernacle and on the altar. It is as if she is caressing him at her heart, as she held him, body and blood, soul and divinity, when he born to her at Bethlehem, and when he was taken down from the cross and placed in her arms.

After Mass on today’s solemnity of the Immaculate Conception I got on a ladder, and took a photo from Mary’s eyes toward her Son … 

 And then a photo from the tabernacle up toward the window …On this feast of the Immaculate Conception, we place ourselves in her arms for her to hold us. We feel her embrace and her protection. We feel her eyes on us, in her everlastingly motherly way.

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.