Sunday May 18th. 2014                                                                                        Charity registration No. SC 002876

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St. Margaret's,                        St. Joseph's,                        St. Finnan's

May — Our Lady’s month

The Church has always gathered round Mary, for the Apostles were assured by the words of Our Lord on the cross when he gave us his own mother to be our mother also.“Mother, behold your son”. And to the young St.John he said: “Son, behold your mother” And the disciple made a place for her in his home.Mary has always had a place in the hearts of her children down the centuries, and her home is the Church where she still gathers her children around  her.What a beautiful gift to be assured that     Mary is truly our spiritual mother.That is why Catholics go to Mary with all their needs, like a child going to its own mother when it seeks comfort and encouragement in time of distress, and they know she is always there for them.

   One of the tragedies of the Reformation was that Mary was marginalised, and little or no respect or honour given to her. We cannot possibly honour Mary with as much love as her own Son did, and he is God.  Surely, Our Lord is delighted to see his mother honoured by us, whom he crowned Queen of heaven and earth?  England was called the Dowry of Mary in pre-Reformation days; Kings and Queens came from all over Europe to make pilgrimages to her 11th century shrine at Walsingham.

Henry VIII visited Walsingham and left gifts before the statue of Our Lady, but in 1538 he ordered its along with the glorious abbeys and monasteries of England.( Walsingham is now the new centre for the  Ordinariate, the clergy and parishioners of Anglican parishes who have been received in to the Catholic Church and who are allowed to keep many of their former traditions.)

   In his Christmas sermon of 1531, Martin Luther said of Our Lady:  

“She is the highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ…. She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified.We can never honour her enough. No woman is like you.You are more than Eve or Sarah, blessed above all nobility, wisdom, and sanctity.”

Artists the earliest days have painted scenes of the Blessed Virgin that are now treasured by art galleries in every country, such was the honour in which she was held.  A home without a mother is only half a home. A Church without a mother is likewise bereft of a mother’s love. People in many different denominations are beginning to turn to Mary, and she is gradually establishing a place in their prayer life.

The Rosary,

(which means a garland of roses) was given by Our Lady to St. Dominic in the 12th century when she appeared to him in a vision and told him to use is as a means to overcome the Albigensian heresy.It has become a favourite prayer in the Church, for it covers all the important moments the life of Our Lord and his mother.When Our Lady appeared at Lourdes and at Fatima she had a rosary in her hands. She said it was the prayer that pleased her most.

Those who have a devotion to the rosary find themselves drawn ever more closer to Christ. Every time you say the rosary and reflect on the events in then life of Our Lord and Our Lady, you always learn something new which helps to increase you love for them. The saints remind us that Mary formed Christ physically within her, and she can help to form him spiritually within each of us.

The rosary is said in the parish each day before Mass that Our Lady may bless all our parishioners and their families. She will have a special place in her heart for those who have become careless or lax in practicing their faith because they are her children and we are all precious to her.

When we recite the Hail Mary part of the prayer is to ask Our Lady to pray for us at the hour of our death. During the course of our life, those who recite the rosary regularly invite Our Lady thousands of times to be present at their death—and this is an invitation which I am sure our Lady will not refuse. What a comfort and assurance this will give us in these last moments.        
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Amen.