On Sunday, June 25, the community of faithful of the St. Alphonsus church in Rome celebrated the liturgical feast of the Mother of Perpetual Help. The church was packed with people who wanted to express their devotion to our Mother of Perpetual Help during the Solemn Eucharistic celebration and also during the procession followed by the Mass. The procession was around the streets of Esquilino, near the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and after the procession, there was a concert of Fanfara called “Alpini Latina”.
The celebration was presided by the Superior General of the Redemptorists, Fr. Michael Brehl, CSsR. Apart from the pilgrims who came to Rome to participate in the celebration, there were a number of Redemptorists who concelebrated the Eucharist especially a group of Redemptorists who came from different parts of the world to take part in the course of Redemptorists Spirituality which would take place these days in Rome.
During the homily, Fr. Michael Brehl invited the congregation to contemplate the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help with the help of suggested readings of the Mass: In the first reading from the book of Isaiah, we meet the mystery of Incarnation, Emmanuel, God with us … In the second Reading, the glory of new life that we live in the Risen Christ – and Mary as the Mother of the Church … In the Gospel we reflect about the Paschal Mysteries culminating in the Resurrection of the Lord. This Gospel shows us the vocation of Mary to continue the mystery of the mission of her beloved son after his death on the cross. As a Mother, Mary always accompanies us, and she attracts us to Jesus.
The Holy Father, referring to Mary’s mission, told us that it is a mission of evangelization. Mary shows us the revolutionary power of tenderness and compassion. Pope Francis teaches us four verbs to talk about Mary’s mission: accompanying, reuniting, praying, and fighting.
Mary always accompanies the abandoned and the poor with compassion and understanding, with tenderness and mercy. She is always the Mother who cannot abandon her children, especially the weakest ones.
Mary can gather the family around the table to share and grow in fraternal love and to open up to others. Mary does it in all the sanctuaries in the world.
Mary teaches us to pray as she prays, pondering the events and discerning with the word of God. It is a prayer for others, for the needy, to include everyone.
Mary always fights for justice, but with the revolutionary power of tenderness and mercy. She is really a prophet, but a prophet for righteousness with the tenderness of God.
Biju Madathikunnel, CSsR