The Marian shrine in Aparecida, where the Redemptorists of São Paulo Province minister, welcomed thousands of devotees of the Patroness of Brazil on Thursday 12 October and during days of novena celebrated under the motto “Mary, teach us that the vocation is a grace and mission”.
The Holy Mass at 9am at the Central Altar was the solemn celebration of the Feast of the Patroness and was presided over by the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Aparecida, Msgr Orlando Brandes. The celebration was also concelebrated by Dom Joércio Gonçalves, Redemptorist bishop emeritus, Fr Marlos Aurélio, C.Ss.R., Provincial Superior, Fr Eduardo Catalfo, C.Ss.R., rector of the Shrine and the other priests present.
In his homily the Archbishop spoke about the fundamental vocation of every baptized to be saint. He also pointed out the need of work for social justice as the path to the lasting peace so longed in the world thorned with conflicts and war.
The Closing Mass in the evening was presided over by the Redemptorist missionary and Provincial Superior, Fr Marlos Aurélio, C.Ss.R. It began with a call to reflect on vocation and mission, the theme of this year’s Novena and Feast of the Patroness, emphasising the role of Our Lady of Aparecida as an inspiration for all devotees.
In his homily, Fr Marlos reflected with the whole assembly on Vocation, one of the key words of this novena. “Everything can be summarised in the vocation to be God’s people, in relationship and connection with the people of the first covenant, but that, in the person of Jesus and his paschal mystery, we have reached the apex of this relationship between God and his people.”
“By crowning the Novena with this celebration, we are renewing our vocation as the people of God. From here we must leave with this renewed conviction, as protagonists of this history, of a people who have God as their identity.”
“Let us always have this conviction of Mary’s maternal presence, which never distances us from Jesus. She is constantly asking, but also obeying, as a faithful follower of Jesus: ‘Do whatever he tells you’. To live in the company of Mary is to have the grace to savour the wine of joy,” he said.
“May Mary allow us to be here celebrating again in 365 days’ time. May she place her maternal gaze on all of us,” he concluded.
After the Eucharistic Liturgy, the celebration continued with an emotional moment: the presenter of TV Aparecida, Jéssica Fernandes, prayed a prayer for the Family of Devotees in front of the image of Our Lady of Aparecida.
Next, the Books of the Devotees were enthroned under the central altar. They contain the names of all those who, by the end of September this year, had registered with the Family of Devotees and, with their very valuable contribution, help to maintain the House of the Mother and all its charity and evangelizing works.