Ancient icon focus of June mission

| June 1, 2015 | 0 Comments
The symbolism of the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help will be explained at St. Alphonsus in Brooklyn Center June 23-26. Courtesy the Redemptorists

The symbolism of the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help will be explained at St. Alphonsus in Brooklyn Center June 23-26. Courtesy the Redemptorists

In 1866, Pope Pius IX gave an icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to the Redemptorists with orders to “make her known throughout the world.” As the religious order approaches the 150th anniversary of that mandate, it is hosting the first in a national series of icon-focused parish missions at St. Alphonsus in Brooklyn Center.

On the evenings of June 23-26, Redemptorists Father John Fahey-Guerra and Brother Dan Korn, an iconologist, will share the symbolism in the icon’s five key elements: Mary’s face, her hands, the Christ Child, the angels and the use of the color gold. The mission will conclude June 27, the feast of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, with 8 a.m. Mass.

Titled “Mirror of Love,” the mission will begin each evening at 7 p.m. and include a Marian hymn and a solemn procession of the icon, intercessory prayer and a Scripture reading prior to presentations on the icon. The mission will be presented in English and Spanish.

The Redemptorists, whose members serve St. Alphonsus, have declared 2016 the jubilee year of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, and have begun a three-year celebration to honor the ancient portrayal of Mary and Jesus.

The icon shows Mary holding the child Jesus in her arms. An angel appears on both sides of them, holding instruments of Christ’s passion. Mary sorrowfully gazes at the viewer, while Jesus turns toward an angel holding a cross and nails, while clinging to his mother. One of his sandals is loose.

According to legend, the icon originated with St. Luke. Over the centuries, the icon and its related images have become known as Our Mother, or Our Lady, of Perpetual Help.

The icon is now enshrined in the Redemptorist Church of St. Alphonsus in Rome. An object of widespread popular devotion, the icon is considered by many to be miraculous, and intercessory prayers to Mary under the title of Mother of Perpetual Help to be efficacious.

For more information about the “Mirror of Love” mission, visit http://www.stalsmn.org or call (763) 561-5100.

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