Photo: Dan Valenti
The Rosary Procession begins — Marian novices carry the crowned statue of Our Lady on Aug. 22 at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. The Marians of the Immaculate Conception concluded Marian Week with the fest of Mary as Queen of Heaven.
Mary's Queenship 'Our Joy'
Marian Week Culminates with the Crowning of the Blessed Mother
By Dan Valenti (Aug 22, 2008)
The Marians of the Immaculate Conception culminated their celebration of Marian Week with the feast of the Queenship of Mary before a packed chapel at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.
From near and far — from just down the road in Stockbridge and all the way from India — pilgrims paid homage to the Blessed Mother's crowning as Queen of Heaven. The liturgy included the crowning of Mary along with a consecration to the Blessed Mother on behalf of all participants.
'Her Glory is Our Joy'
In his homily, Shrine Rector Fr. Anthony Gramlich, MIC, commented on the spotless goodness of Mary: "She is the perfect reflection of the Holy Trinity in that she perfectly reflects God's beauty. Her glory is our joy."
Father Anthony then quoted from a series of saints and holy persons — among them St. Augustine, St. Louis De Montfort, St. Ignatius, Padre Pio, and St. Maximilian Kolbe — to make the point that God exalts the humble and humbles the exalted. Each of these great commentators on the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary noted how Mary, a simple young girl, was selected among all women to be the Mother of Jesus.
Father Anthony also encouraged people not to be afraid to honor and love Mary. Loving Mary does not at all detract from loving Jesus and God the Father. Rather, Marian devotion enhances that love because Mary brings us, unfailingly, to her Son.
"Think of how Jesus treats his own mother," Fr. Anthony said. "How, then, does he want us to treat his mother? She gave Jesus His [earthly] life. She gave Him love. She gave him nurturing. He spent 30 years with her. So how much does Jesus want us to love her? Think about that."
Like St. Maximilian Kolbe, we should "believe in her love" by loving her in return. Mary, Fr. Anthony added, is "the mother of love and mercy. Let's give honor and tribute to the Queen of Heaven and invoke her intercession, on our behalf, with her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ."
Following the celebration of the Eucharist and the final blessing, pilgrims assembled outside the chapel in delightful, sunny weather. There, they joined in a Rosary procession around Eden Hill, with Marian novices serving as bearers of the crowned statue of Our Lady. The Rosary procession was held on Eden Hill each day of Marian Week, directly following the Mass. Pilgrims then processed back inside the chapel to sing the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy.
Twelve sisters from the Missionaries of Charity's mission in Bridgeport, Conn., attended the Queenship feast, participating in the Mass, the Rosary procession, and Chaplet. They also had time to enjoy the scenic vistas and natural beauty of Eden Hill. The sisters commented on their joy to be part of the feast. They also expressed delight at being on Eden Hill, whose idyllic natural setting is the opposite of the sisters' mission home in Bridgeport's impoverished west end.
Lourdes Grotto Mass
At the same time as the feast of Mary's Queenship was being celebrated in the National Shrine, The Most Rev. Bishop Joseph Mar Thomas of Kerala, India, and Bishop John Kalloor from Marthandam, India, celebrated Mass in the Lourdes Grotto at the National Shrine for approximately 40 people of Indian descent from Hillsdale and Queens, N.Y. The bishops had led the pilgrimage to Stockbridge.
Bishop Thomas, Chairman of the Synodal Commission Outside India (to North America and Europe), called his group's visit "the expression of God through the celebration of our love for Him" and for the Blessed Mother.
The feast ended as pilgrims wandered around Eden Hill, lingered to pray, or went to their vehicles for the trip back home — all done under a cloudless sky of Marian blue.
Dan Valenti writes for numerous publications of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, both in print and online. He is the author of "Dan Valenti's Journal" on thedivinemercy.org.