Friday, May 24, 2013

Feast of Mary, Help of Christians!

Today is the Feast of Mary Help of Christians!

One of the greatest victories of all time took place at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571, when a mighty fleet of Moslems, heretics and infidels threatened to invade and overrun all Europe. The saintly Pope Pius V called for rosary crusades and Blessed Sacrament processions everywhere. The Christian forces aboard their tiny fleet publicly prayed the Rosary and received the Sacraments before going into the battle against their enemies who outnumbered them four to one with bigger and more powerful ships. In the beginning, the Christian fleet fared badly. But suddenly, in the midst of the battle, the wind which had been against them changed in their favor. This threw the Turkish fleet into confusion, with one ship shooting another. As the battle raged into late afternoon, a great storm arose, sinking many more of the Turkish ships. finally, the few that remained fled in confusion, and the vaunted Turkish power over the Mediterranean was broken. The Christian commander, Don Juan of Austria, publicly proclaimed that his triumph was due to the powerful intercession of the Queen of the Rosary. The Venetian Senate wrote to other states, claiming that "It was not generals, nor battalions, nor arms, that brought us victory; but it was our Lady of the Rosary."

To commemorate such a miraculous victory, Pope St. Pius V ordered the celebration of the Feast of the Most Holy rosary, and the addition of the invocation "AUXILIUM CHRISTIANORUM, ORA PRO NOBIS" (HELP OF CHRISTIANS, PRAY FOR US) in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin.

On many occasions through the course of history the Christian people have experienced the protection of the Virgin Mary. The title of Help of Christians, which Don Bosco associated with that of Mary, Mother of the Church is an indication of the special intervention of Mary in the most difficult trials of personal human life, of the Church, and of the whole human family.

The liturgical celebration was instituted by Pope Pius VIII in gratitude for Mary’s intervention in a critical period in the history of the Church. Driven out by violence form the See of Rome and held as a prisoner for 5 years, the Pontiff had implored the help of Mary and had invited all Christians to do the same. Contrary to all expectations, he was freed and returned to his See on 24 May, 1814. Devotion to Mary, Help of Christians, was spread far and wide through the work of St. John Bosco and continues to be propagated in the world by the Salesian family which recognizes and invokes Mary, Help of Christians as its principal patroness.


Mister X said...

Yes! Corpus Christianum - - celebrates today as their main feast day.

Sandy said...

I love to hear about these feasts of "my Mother" and I wish Oct. 7 would be dedicated again to praying for a miracle in the world - worldwide conversion! We can think big, can't we?