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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mary, Queen of Apostles & Mission

Yesterday St. Joseph the Worker got bumped in favor of a solemn liturgy honoring Mary, Queen of Apostles in the Maryknoll main chapel bearing that name. True, the regular feast of MQOA falls on the Saturday following the Ascension of the Lord, but in recent years the May Crowning of the statue of Our Lady of Maryknoll in the Spellman Room has become increasingly popular, especially among our employees.

Plus since Monday we have been honored to have 28 Missioners, educators and diocesan workers in attendance from around the country to discuss ways to rekindle the spirit of mission in the Church in the United States. This conference was organized by Fr. Jerry Kelly and Fr. Dave LaBuda. So we moved our daily liturgy to 11:15 a.m. and held it in the main chapel, as the Lady Chapel could not accommodate so many visitors plus our regulars.

Following the Mass, the main celebrant (moi) led the congregation out to the Spellman Room while chanting the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Once regathered there, we read the dedication to Our Lady of Maryknoll by Bishop James E. Walsh. Then as we sang "Bring Flowers of the Rarest" Ms. Susan Aniello, supervisor of our health services, did the honors of crowning the larger-than-life statue. Susan was chosen partly in thanks and recognition for the wonderful job all our nurses and assistants did during the Nora-virus crisis. Our ceremony ended with the chanting of the Regina Caeli.

Here, for your reflection and meditation and hopefully edification, is the homily I delivered: 



It is good to celebrate Mass in honor of Mary, Queen of Apostles in Maryknoll's main chapel dedicated to Mary, Queen of Apostles. Bishop James A. Walsh wisely put us under the patronage of both the Blessed Mother and the Apostles who were the first sent out into the world to announce the Good News of the Risen Lord.

For from this very chapel, wave upon wave of modern Missioners would follow their example. Of course, in recent years those waves have been reduced to a dribble but we should be inspired by the example of the Apostles who did not let the threat of extinction stop them from their ministry to announce the good news to all nations. 

Apostles, like Missioners, are ones who are sent. In this regard, Mary is also the Queen of Missioners, all the more so for us who bear her name. Mary is more than a monarch, she is our mother and role model. We show ourselves as beloved disciples of the Lord when we take the Blessed Mother into our homes and lives.

We do this by doing what she did:

Submit completely to the will of God.

Receive the Holy Spirit into our lives.

Treasure the word of God in our hearts.

By our actions, our words and our lives, give flesh to that word.

Give the Word-made-flesh to the world.

Point to our Lord and say, "Do whatever he tells you."

And then perhaps the hardest part of all: stand at the foot of the cross as we watch those we love suffer and die.

To do all these things, we must make Mary's Magnificat our own:

Our souls must magnify the Lord, which means our lives, our very beings must shine forth the forgiveness, mercy, compassion and love Jesus has for the world.

Our spirits must rejoice in God our savior, which means joy, deep, irrepressible joy should be the bedrock of our lives, even when we feel sad, discouraged or even depressed.

As Maryknollers we seem to have readily taken to the part in the Magnificat about casting down the mighty from their thrones and lifting up the lowly.

And in a few minutes we will all go down to the dining room where God will fill the hungry with good things. Now we must also be believers in the promise made to our father Abraham. We too have left family and homeland to sojourn in foreign lands. Like the Apostles, we too face an uncertain future, but under Mary's patronage, God willing future Maryknollers will number more than the stars of the heavens or sands of the sea.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this homily which expresses Maryknoll in Action.