Seeking Mary in the communion of saints

| Archbishop Bernard Hebda | October 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

As the sun was coming up over Minneapolis Oct. 18, 2,000 Catholic school teachers, administrators and staff converged upon the Convention Center from every point of the archdiocese for the first Catholic Schools Summit, sponsored by the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE). It was an exhilarating day, with dynamic speakers, opportunities for sharpening skills and sharing best practices, and a joyful recommitment to the mission of Catholic education. I felt privileged to join with this army of disciples for Mass.

Frequently referenced throughout the day were the educational giants of past generations — religious sisters and brothers, dedicated laity and committed pastors — who had been the backbone of the Catholic schools of this archdiocese. I felt their presence as I celebrated Mass that morning, and I know that we continue to benefit not only from their example and hard work, but also from their prayers.

As the Church celebrates All Saints Day and commemorates All Souls Day, it’s not surprising that we would be mindful of the strong connections that bind us to our brothers and sisters in Christ, even those who have gone before us. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us of the deep union that we as “wayfarers” share with those who sleep in the peace of Christ.

Just as we lean daily on our fellow pilgrims along the way — those with whom we share a pew at Mass, or who are in our Bible studies, or who serve with us at the local food pantry or shelter — who support us with their example and encouragement, so too we count on the heavenly intercession of the saints, whether canonized or not, and pray for those in purgatory.

Our Catholic understanding of the community of saints was front and center as we gathered for the Eucharist and rosary procession on the 100th anniversary of the last apparition at Fatima. It was a perfect night for a candlelight procession, and thousands of Catholics from across the archdiocese and seemingly representing every demographic gathered at the State Capitol and processed to the Cathedral, while praying the rosary and meditating on the mysteries of Christ’s life.

I was near the front of the procession and was amazed that when we arrived at the doors of the Cathedral, the flickering candles still stretched all the way back to the Capitol. It was a beautiful opportunity to recall the events of Fatima and the tender and maternal heart of Our Lady, who as Queen of Heaven continues to show such love for the Church on earth, especially for those on the peripheries.

Many of those who gathered at the Cathedral had been prayerfully preparing for weeks to make a personal act of consecration, asking Our Lady to set their hearts on fire with love for Jesus. I was inspired as they concretely illustrated our understanding of the communion of saints by entrusting themselves to Mary and, along with her, united themselves to Jesus’ perfect consecration to the Father.

Building on those personal consecrations, I felt privileged to lead those gathered in entrusting to Mary every aspect of archdiocesan life, asking her to mold us into the image of Jesus, her son, so that we might be the field hospital that he desires.

As we asked her to reveal her “tender motherly care for the infirm, the weak, the homeless, the addicted, the hurt, the estranged, the abandoned, the imprisoned, the doubting and all those living on the peripheries of our society,” I was confident that she would call forth from each of us a deeper generosity and solidarity with those in need, and deepen the unity, the communion, that we share as a local Church.

One of Mary’s great gifts within that communion is to be a unifier. Depending on our ethnic heritage, we might come to her under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or Our Lady of Knock, or Our Lady of Fatima, or Our Lady of the Clouds, or Our Lady of LaVang or Our Lady of Czestochowa — but the bottom line is that she’s a mother for all of us and, if we allow her, leads us and supports all of us together along the way.

As we prayed in the Cathedral Oct. 13, I turned to her as Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, a title that has been made popular by Pope Francis, with the hope that she will not only extricate the archdiocese from the knots of our ongoing legal challenges, but also guide us as we move forward to be a healing Church, a more united Church, committed to helping others to be freed from whatever binds them. May she accept the gift of our hearts and take all our prayers to the throne of her son.

Buscando a María en la comunión de los santos

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Only Jesus