A Treasure Trove of Gems

Priceless insights about our Blessed Mother appear in a new book.

09/19/2014 Comment
courtesy Marians of the Immaculate Conception

– courtesy Marians of the Immaculate Conception

The September feasts of our Blessed Mother — the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Most Holy Name of Mary and Our Lady of Sorrows — are Marian gems of the liturgical kind.

They reminded me of other kinds of Marian gems, specifically those in a recent book called Marian Gems.

The book’s subtitle — Daily Wisdom on Our Lady — sets the opening scene and reason for this great gem by Father Donald Calloway of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. It shines and sparkles with beauty and wisdom.

Father Calloway has written several books on Mary, including the exceptionally inspiring Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts From a 21st-Century Priest.

In that book, he included what he called...READ MORE

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Don’t Forget Our Lady of Sorrows Until Next Year

Mary's help is more important than ever today.

09/15/2014 Comments (1)
Taylor Marshall

Seven swords pierce the heart of Our Lady of Sorrows symbolizing her seven sorrows

– Taylor Marshall

Every Sept. 15, we honor our Blessed Mother on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Honoring our Blessed Mother in this devotion began in the 13th century.

In some following centuries, it was celebrated twice a year, under different titles. But in 1913, Pope St. Pius X permanently set the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in the Roman calendar on Sept. 15.

It is a most fitting day, because it immediately follows the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Surely, under the cross, Our Lady’s heart was bonded with her Son Jesus’ heart. Her heart was pierced by the sword of sorrow prophesied by Simeon.

St. Alphonsus Ligouri wrote: “Thus also did Mary suffer all those torments, scourges, thorns, nails and the...READ MORE

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From 'Sea to Shining Sea' in 33,000 Miles

July 4th Marks Historic Moment for Monumental Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Czestochowa Icon

07/04/2014 Comments (4)
Courtesy of Human Life International

The icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as the Black Madonna, in front of the statue of Lewis and Clark, with the Pacific beach in the background. Father West stands with the icon.

– Courtesy of Human Life International

There is yet another reason today to celebrate a milestone on July 4.

The icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which was been leading the "From Ocean to Ocean Campaign in Defense of Life" that began on Aug. 24, 2013, on America’s Atlantic shores reached its goal on the Pacific shores this Independence Day.

Starting at St. Clement’s Island, Md., the exact site of the first landing of Catholic pilgrims in the 17th-century American British colonies, the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as the Black Madonna, arrived in Astoria, Ore., on July 4, beginning with morning Mass at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Parish to commemorate traveling “from ocean to ocean” across North America.


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Urgent: PRAY4USA

Divine Mercy Shrine and Army Chaplain Recruit Faithful for Short Novena for Our Country

06/23/2014 Comments (18)
Marian Helpers Association, National Shrine of the Divine Mercy

– Marian Helpers Association, National Shrine of the Divine Mercy

This is a very critical time for our country and our world.

And prayer can do more than we can ever imagine.

That’s why the Marian Fathers at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy have launched the Pray4USA campaign.
Their goal is “to unite the country with prayer and through prayer.”

They are asking everyone to join in the Pray4USA novena that begins on Wednesday, June 25, and consists in  praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for the nine days leading up to July 4.

The intention is to specifically implore God's mercy on our country.

The Pray4USA page features a heartfelt invitation for the faithful to join this simple novena campaign from Father Donald Van Alystyne. A Marian priest, he...READ MORE

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First House Built to Honor Pope Francis

Wall-raising began this month in the Asheville, N.C., area on the house that will be the new home to LaShawn Meadows and her family.

05/24/2014 Comment
Ashville Habitat for Humanity

Many volunteers raise the walls for 'The Pope Francis House' being built by Habitat for Humanity in Asheville, N.C.

– Ashville Habitat for Humanity

Home construction hit a major milestone this month, as work officially began on "The Pope Francis House."

The Pope Francis House in the Asheville, N.C., area is the first Habitat for Humanity house in the country to honor the Pope.

Once completed later this year, this four-bedroom, two-bath dwelling will be the new home of LaShawn Meadows and her three children.

So how did a Habitat house get named after Pope Francis?

“That was the request of the anonymous donor,” Greta Bush of the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity explained to me. “It was their concept and idea, and they presented it to Habitat.”

The anonymous donor picked up the tab for a full house sponsorship — $55,000.


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Listen to Your Mother!

05/14/2014 Comments (2)
Author photo

Our Lady of Fatima has the best directions for us, her children.

– Author photo

Listen to your Mother!

Mother’s Day in May is a good reminder, but a better one is the anniversary of our Blessed Mother’s appearance in Fatima, which we celebrated on May 13.

How many really listen to what our Mother said we must do? She instructs us to pray a daily Rosary and honor the Five First Saturdays.

But how many even know what the Five First Saturdays are?

This year marks the 97th anniversary of our Blessed Mother’s first appearance to the three shepherd children at Fatima — and by extension, to all her children. That’s us. Her messages, advice, and directions were for us.

Like a good mother who wants the best for her sons and daughters, she told us simply and clearly what we...READ MORE

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A Never-Forgotten Moment With a Future Saint

The special story of one American family.

04/28/2014 Comment
Courtesy of Pat Clark

Jennie Clark receives a personal blessing from Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's Church in Columbia, S.C.

– Courtesy of Pat Clark

“I remember it like yesterday,” Pat Clark said with great joy during a phone chat from his home in Columbia, S.C.

He was referring to Sept. 12, 1987, the day Pope John Paul II came to St. Peter’s Church in Columbia, and Clark saw the future saint bless his two children, Jennie and Christopher. This happy dad never expected the national exposure that blessing would receive.

Months before, he learned that the Holy Father was going to stop at St. Peter’s during his trip to the United States.
But with more than 5,000 people applying for tickets to attend the pope’s service in St. Peter’s, Clark knew they were nearly impossible to get.

But the day before the pope arrived, so did four tickets...READ MORE

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Divine Mercy for the New Evangelization

04/25/2014 Comments (1)

Divine Mercy Sunday is certainly capturing more attention this year in the secular world because of the interest in two popes being canonized on this feast day.

Heaven gave us a great confirmation of the feast, especially with St. John Paul II, because he was the promoter par excellence of this devotion; he declared it a feast for the universal Church on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2000, the same day he canonized St. Faustina Kowalska, to whom Jesus gave the Divine Mercy message; he died on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005, right after the vigil Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday; and he was himself beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday and now is canonized on it.

John Paul II also first used the...READ MORE

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About Joseph Pronechen

Joseph Pronechen
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Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared regularly in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in one of Connecticut’s largest news dailies. He holds BS and MS degrees and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside in Connecticut.