Happy Feast Day Mary, Help of Christians

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The history of the devotion to Mary Help of Christians  (from Lepanto to Australia) and also St John Bosco’s promotion of the devotion. 

Advice from St John Bosco:

  It is the office of a mother to give help to her children in all their needs. This title expresses in practice Our Lady’s position as our mother. She has all the help we need and she wants to give it to us, if only we will ask for it.

Call on Mary in all your difficulties with the little prayer, “Mary Help of Christians, Pray for us” and you will never call in vain. “Spread devotion to Mary, Help of Christians, and you will see what miracles are”.

A personal testimony

I have silently said the prayer:

Mary Help of Christians, pray for us,

(and added come to my aid in this situation), while seeing in my mind a picture of Mary Help of Christians in the sky, and below her the sea battle of Lepanto: the famous one in which Mary Help of Christians, helped the Christians gain a great victory, and have found that through this prayer, Mary has speedily sent me help in difficult situations on a number of occasions. Mary Help of Christians is the patron of Australia.

The following prayer was said in Australian Catholic schools for many years.

Prayer for the conversion of Australia

O God Who hast appointed Mary, Help of Christians, St Francis Xavier and St Therese of the Infant Jesus, patrons of Australia, grant that, through their intercession, our brethren outside the Church, may receive the light of Faith, so that Australia may become one in Faith, under one Shepherd. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Mary, Help of Christians pray for us.

St Francis Xavier, pray for us.

St Therese of the Infant Jesus pray for us.

Special note

St Francis Xavier and St Therese of the Child Jesus were patrons of Australia when it was considered to be a missionary country. They are no longer patrons of Australia. (I think that we need them back) besides I am very devoted to St Therese. (She is one of my all time favourites) and I was married on December 3 (the feast day of St Francis Xavier).

This is:  The novena to Mary, Help of Christians that was recommended by St John Bosco. 

My email enquiries to the Archdiocese of Sydney to find out exactly when Australia was no longer considered to be a missionary country, so as a consequence no longer had St Francis Xavier and St Therese of the Child Jesus as patrons of Australia have so far drawn a blank.

The prayer for the conversion of Australia was taken from a little booklet that was published in 1961.

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An ecumenical boss

I once worked in an office in Sydney, where the staff were consisted mainly of Catholics and Jews.  The boss in my section was a member of the Anglican Church. He used to let the Catholics go to Mass in work hours at a nearby church on Holy Days of Obligation. The reason for this was that his little grandson was a Catholic and used to ask him why people were in different churches. This is hard to explain to a three year old. The boss had a great time telling this to the bank manager over the phone in these words, “I let Gilroy’s mob go to Mass”.  For those who are not familiar with this ‘Gilroy’s mob’ was the bosses’ way of describing the Catholics on his staff.  Cardinal Gilroy was the first Australian born cardinal.  At that time he was the Archbishop of Sydney.

Today is Mother’s Day

Our parish priest is on holidays and we have a retired priest filling in for the month.  At the end of the Vigil Mass last night, Father gave each mother present at the Mass, a signed card (for mother’s day) with the following quote of St Therese on it:

The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother. 

The card was decorated with roses. I was especially pleased because I have been praying to St Therese for a very important intention and that has given me encouragement regarding that matter. 

I know that Mother’s Day is a secular celebration and is also commercialized at that, but Anna Jarvis (the American lady)* who started it to honour her own mother never intended it to be that way. 

In this age where abortion has become so widespread, it does not hurt to give a genuine approach to mother’s day, recognizing the importance of mothers and babies. No pope, priest, layperson, scientist, king, queen, president**, teacher, tradesman, etc., ever got here without a mother*** yet mothers are so despised. They are supposed to go to hospital, get the baby out and turn up at their ‘real job’ in the office, in the parliament, on the board of executives etc. next week. 

Today is not only mother’s day, but it is also my own mother’s birthday. She has always liked the film: The Song of Bernadette, since it was first released in 1943 when she was a child, so I am giving her a DVD of that film. 

*Anna Jarvis was never a mother herself. (She never married). 

**President Obama your own mother Anne made sure you were born and grew up.  Let other babies be born and grown up. I send the same message to Hillary and to many other politicians and others around the world. 

***There are two exceptions to this. Adam and Eve never had an earthly mother, because they started out as adults with a lot going for them.