(Rome) The community at St. Alphonsus celebrated joyfully the feast of the Mother of Perpetual Help with the faithful on the 27th of June, with the grand Eucharistic celebrations both in English and Italian languages consecutively at 3.30 pm and 6.30 pm at the Shrine of the Mother of Perpetual Help Rome.
As the Redemptorist Communities together with friends and faithful from all over the world joined in the celebration of the feast of the Mother of Perpetual Help in their way, we too at St. Alphonsus community, Rome celebrated this great feast joined by many lay faithful and religious.
The Eucharistic celebration in the English language began at 3.30 pm with the Filipino community who also celebrated the 500 years of the beginning of Christianity in the Philippines. Fr. Brendan Kelly, CSsR, presided over the Holy Mass and the homilist was Fr. Amado Picardal (Picx). It was indeed a memorable celebration where the Filipino community actively participated in the Eucharistic celebration with various devotional acts like an opening procession, offertory procession, thanksgiving dance, and finally the blessings of the Icons of the Mother of Perpetual Help.
Fr. Picx in his homily highlighted the history of the beginning of the faith in the Philippines focusing on how the community has sustained it till today. He too reflected the journey of the community with the Mother of Perpetual Help from the beginning to this day. There have been many challenges to keep up the faith and continue to bind together the community, which is committed to God in service. Based on the Gospel reflection he emphasized the witnesses to faith by the community in the western context.
Soon after a short break the Holy Mass in the Italian language began, presided over by Fr. Michael Brehl, CSsR, the superior general, and concelebrated by the confreres of the community. The faithful and the religious joined in great numbers to celebrate the feast. Fr. Michael in his homily invited us to visualize ourselves at the foot of the cross to understand the mystery of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. This is the place where we listen to Jesus. He speaks to us. Seeing his mother, and the disciple he loves, Jesus says to his mother: “Woman, here is your son”, and to the disciple: “Here is your mother”. Then Jesus cries out: “All is accomplished” and puts his spirit into the hands of the Father. These words of Jesus on the threshold of death do not primarily express a compassionate concern for his mother but manifest a special salvific mission entrusted to her. Jesus left us his mother as our mother. Mary’s mission is to be the mother of his disciples. Jesus does not want us to walk without a mother. We need one!
Fr. Michael further spoke of Mary’s mission. She is the mother of the disciples, our perpetual helper. We learn this at the foot of the cross. She is the mother of us all irrespective of caste, color, or creed. Through her maternal tenderness that she leads us to Jesus. As Pope Francis tells us, Mary shows us the revolutionary power of tenderness. Today we honor Mary with the title of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Let us also learn to make her tenderness our own and follow her example to bring this perpetual help to all with the witness of our lives, of our love.
O Mary, you are truly our perpetual help. With great confidence, we come before this sacred image today. Help us in your motherly love. Today, we carry in our hearts so many people, situations, intentions, and sufferings. Like the little Jesus in this Icon, we want to take your hand.
O Mary, please teach us how to walk with you so that we can show the world the revolutionary power of maternal tenderness that is stronger than hatred and more powerful than fear.
O Mary, show us to Jesus and help us to open our hearts and lives to him, to gather all your children with all their differences. You are a perpetual help for us. We need it. Thank you for accepting us as your own! Thank you, Mother.
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration Fr. Gianni Congiu, the Rector of the Community of St. Alphonsus thanked all the confreres and the people who helped during novena days and the with the feast day celebrations.