News from San Antonio Church – May 14, 2023

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Weekly Bulletin May 14, 2023

by Terrie Evans

On this Sunday we celebrate all Mothers as we honor all maternal bonds, and the influence mothers have in society.  The establishment of the 1st Mother’s Day was celebrated at Andrew’s Methodist Church in 1907 in Grafton, West Virginia where the Church established the International Mother’s Day Shrine.    Anna Jarvis held the first holiday to remember her mother Ann who had cared for wounded American Civil War Soldiers no matter what side they were on.   When her mother Ann Jarvis passed away in 1905, her daughter Anna wanted to honor not only her but to set aside a day for all mothers as they are “The person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.  By 1911, all U.S. States would observe the holiday and in 1912, Anna Jarvis founded the Mother’s Day International Association for families to promote the role of all mothers throughout the world.  In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designation the 2nd Sunday in May a national holiday to honor all mothers.  

While this day is set aside to honor all Mother’s in traditional branches of Christianity, it is a day associated with showing reverence to the Virgin Mary.  Churches will hold their annual   May Crowning’s today is to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as Mother to everyone.  The May Crowning is a traditional Roman Catholic ritual that occurs during the month of May.  This many centuries old event is thought to have started in the 5th Century when Mary was portrayed as a Queen and Empress seated upon a throne wearing a crown displaying a royal insignia.    In the 13th Century, specific dates in May were filled with special observances and devotions dedicated to Mary.   By the 16th Century, crowning images of the Blessed Virgin, revered as the Mother of the Son of God.   The Archbishop of Genoa in 1747 recommended May devotions for their private homes.  Many Catholics will honor Mary in their homes with some Lutheran and Anglicans families setting up a special shrine devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary as special intentions are said to Our Lady for blessings and protections.  Around the 19th Century, May devotions flourished for the entire month as families who began their Marian Devotions saying the Rosary around an altar with a statue or picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

There are dozens of Marian Feast Days throughout the year that are celebrated in different regions of the world.  Three of those devotions taking place in May are Our Lady of Power in France, Our Lady of Tears in Italy and in Mexico, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.   On May 12th in Aubervilliers, French residents will recall The Miracle of Rain that occurred in 1336 when their crops were saved during a terrible drought.  During their many prayer intentions, the statue of the Blessed Mother became covered with droplets of water.  The rains soon followed, and the miracle spread with pilgrims visiting the statue to show their appreciation.  There were many miracles documented in France especially when the Blessed Virgin restored life to a stillborn child in 1582.  On May 17th in Spoleto, Italy residents honor the Madonna of Tears Miracle when Our Lady wept tears of blood in 1485.  At that time, the area was suffering due to war, famine and pestilence in the hard-hit community.   A local resident Antonio Diotallevi decided to paint an image of the Blessed Mother on the wall of his residence near Spoleto, Italy in 1483 to give those faithful hope.  People came from all over to see the miracle, even those who doubted what had occurred were forever changed once they saw the weeping tears.  Great crowds formed and soon plans were under way to build a Basilica in 1487 to have Masses to give thanks.  It was completed in 1489 with the original wall containing the Madonna and child cut out and moved inside the new Basilica. 

In Vera Cruz, Mexico on May 30th, parishioners will remember the young woman, Maria Hendizabel who fled France in 1939 to escape Hitler’s armies and settled in Mexico.  Maria’s most prized possession was a large portrait of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart which she then placed in the Church of San Jose (St. Joseph) on her arrival in the small town. On the evening the picture was placed in an area in the church, a young boy was cured and from then on it is said thousands of cures were performed and verified.  The left wall of the church where Our Lady of the Sacred Heart was placed   is now covered with silver remembrances by all the grateful recipients who have received favors from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.  There are times during the month of May where the faithful travel to sacred sites to go on a pilgrimage for renewal and spiritual healing.  Many pilgrims will pray and pay homage to the Blessed Mother throughout the United States.  

There are well-known sites all through Europe and some very worthy places to visit in our country.   The 1st Shrine dedicated in the United States of Our Blessed Mother is Our Lady of La Leche in St. Augustine, Florida.   The most notable one is The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., it is the largest Church in the United States and one of the 10th largest in the world.  There are two Shrines devoted to the Miraculous Medal:   In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania there is The Central Miraculous Medal Shrine and in Perryville, Missouri, the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.  In Ohio, we have the National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in the Diocese of Toledo about 160 miles north of Cincinnati.  The original church was built in 1868 and is located directly across the street from the Basilica.  When the new church was dedicated, a rainstorm affected the procession of parishioners except those who were carrying the statue who stayed dry.  An important shrine located in Albuquerque, New Mexico is the Shrine of St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes.  Established in 1805, where there is a replica of the Shrine in Lourdes where Our Lady appeared to Bernadette 18 times.  Our beloved Sr. Blandina Segale, Servant of God spent a few years doing good works and performing many miracles on her own; we can assume she visited the Shrine for inspiration.

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