blessed mother

EDITORIAL | Blessed Mother’s example helps us to remember those affected by evils in society

May is Mary's month, a time when Catholics devote extra attention to the Blessed Mother. Rosaries, novenas, Masses and May crowning ceremonies are all part of the repertoire of celebrations.

Among her many titles, the Blessed Mother is well known as the Queen of Peace. In her apparitions to the children of Fatima in 1917, she implored them to pray the Rosary every day in her honor, "to obtain the peace of the world and the end of the war."

Simbang Gabi is Filipino Advent tradition honoring the Blessed Mother

Parishioners Kevin Eulalia, left, Fely Eulalia and Merlinda Eulalia served Filipino delicacies after a Simbang Gabi Mass Dec. 18. Simbang Gabi is a novena of Masses honoring Mary. The tradition of Simbang Gabi traces back to the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the Philippines about 500 years ago. At the time, they had a tradition of celebrating pre-Christmas novena Masses in honor of the Annunciation.

Lily Elznic has fond childhood memories of celebrating Simbang Gabi growing up in the Philippines.

She and her family, who lived about an hour outside of Manila, would head to church for Mass in the early hours of the morning — for nine days straight.

"With all our friends in the neighborhood, we'd all go to the church," she said. "Along the way we'd watch the (Christmas) lights on the houses. After Mass, there would be a line on the street with food vendors — all of our favorite foods. Every morning it was a celebration."

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Mary models our participation in God’s plan for salvation

The mystery of the birth, death and resurrection of Christ taken together is the central mystery of revealed religion. The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent help us enter into this mystery, using Mary as the model of how we're invited to participate in this incredible act of God becoming man.

National Night of Prayer for Life to be observed in parishes Dec. 8 and 9

Twenty parishes in the archdiocese will participate in the National Night of Prayer for Life, a time for eucharistic adoration and prayer for the unborn, an end to abortion and protection of the sanctity of human life. Local parishes will join others across the country to ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother to establish a culture of life.

The evening prayer spans the feast of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, Dec. 8, and the anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe's first apparition to St. Juan Diego on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Fatima Pilgrimage traces Blessed Mother’s life

Visiting three Marian venues — two churches and a shrine — in a four-day, 45-mile hike, the Fatima Pilgrimage on the Katy Trail will lead about a dozen pilgrims on a "Path to Him through her," as the pilgrimage website states.

"This pilgrimage takes you through Mary's life," said Father Tim Foy, the parochial administrator at St. John the Baptist "Gildehaus" Parish in Villa Ridge.

Fatima at 100: Story of apparitions continues to attract attention

Jacinta and Francisco Marto are pictured with their cousin Lucia dos Santos (right) in a file photo taken around the time of the 1917 apparitions of Mary at Fatima, Portugal. Pope Francis has approved the recognition of a miracle attributed to the intercession of two of the shepherd children, thus paving the way for their canonization.

VATICAN CITY — While conversion and prayer are at the heart of Mary's messages at Fatima, Portugal, the miracles and unexplained phenomenon that accompanied the events 100 years ago still intrigue believers and nonbelievers alike.

The apparitions of Mary at Fatima in 1917 weren't the first supernatural events reported there.

Two years before Mary appeared to three shepherd children — Lucia dos Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto — they saw a strange sight while praying the Rosary in the field, according to the memoirs of Sister Lucia, who had become a Carmelite nun.

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