On July 11, the traditional Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help marked its 100 years. The National Shrine of Aparecida celebrated this date with a solemn Mass at the Central Altar.
The Mass was presided by the Provincial Superior of the Province of Sao Paulo, Father Marlos Aurélio. Dom Joércio Gonçalves, the Rector of the National Shrine, Fr Eduardo Catalfo, Treasurer, Fr Luiz Cláudio Alves Macedo, Assistant Treasurer, Fr Heliomarcos Costa Ferraz, as well as other Redemptorist Missionaries and Diocesan Fathers concelebrated the Eucharist.
Father Marlos Aurélio began his homily by speaking about the history of the Novena of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the mission that the Redemptorist Missionaries received from Pope Pius IX.
“This is a significant date for us Redemptorist Missionaries: on July 11, 1922, in the city of St. Louis, in the United States, the novena dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help was initiated by the Redemptorist missionaries of North America. It is obvious that this novena is part of the mandate that the Redemptorist Congregation received from Pope Pius IX in 1866: “To make her known to the world”. And the Perpetual Novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Help becomes that space, that privileged moment to know this devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and evangelise”.
In his reflection, Fr. Marlos explained that the icon received by the Redemptorists is from the Byzantine culture and stressed that, in the Eastern conception, the icon is a window that points to heaven. This window allows us to glimpse what our life with God will be.
“That is why this icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is not simply a Marian spirituality, but a Mariological Christology. Although the most outstanding figure in the icon in the picture is Mary, the centre of all spirituality is Jesus the Redeemer, and He is truly our Perpetual Help. It is He who is held by one arm of Mary, but with the other, we see, Mary points us to Him as the way, truth, and life for all of us. Mary introduces us, and She accompanies us. Mary is the great teacher of this mystery of Redemption.
In concluding his reflection, the Redemptorist underlined the importance of Mary for Catholic Christians and how much we can learn from her: “It is more than clear how important Mary is for us. Sacred Scripture testifies to this, as does the tradition of the Church for more than 2000 years. We learn more and more from Mary how to be disciples of her Son Jesus”.
The Perpetual Help monument in Aparecida is next to the south façade, in front of the cable car of the National Shrine, and devotees visiting the Casa da Mãe can have a moment of prayer and devotion in front of the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Below you can watch the Solemn Mass in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Perpetual Novena: