By Sun staff
As the Church continues to celebrate the 50 days of the Easter season, the faithful will also celebrate in a special way Mary, the Mother of God, during the month of May. May 3 will also mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, known as Good Shepherd Sunday. The Diocese of Syracuse is providing resources and activities to help families and individuals participate in and explore these days of prayer more deeply while at home.
The Church has always honored the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is “the Mother of the Son of God… the chosen companion of the Redeemer… the perfect follower of Christ… and the foremost member of the Church” (Order of Crowning an Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 5). The tradition of depicting Mary with a crown dates to the 5th century and of the tradition of placing a crown on an image of her dates to the 16th century. Currently, the crowning of an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary may take place “within Mass, within the liturgy of the hour at evening prayer, or within a celebration of the word of God” (Ibid., 10). The Office of Liturgy has provided the Crowning of an Image of the Blessed Virgin Mary within a Celebration of the Word of God, which has been adapted for use in homes, led by a member of the household. Find it on the Marian Devotions page of the diocesan website.
Bishop Douglas J. Lucia will crown the statue of Mary in the prayer park at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception May 1 at 1 p.m. He will also renew the consecration of the diocese and lead a decade of the Luminous Mysteries. Join him via livestream at youtube.com/syrdio, and find the worship aid here.
“The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of his love. Through the Rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer” (On the Most Holy Rosary).
There are many prayers that honor Mary and seek her intercession. One such prayer is below; find more at syrdio.org.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
Celebrate the Month of Mary @ Home
The Office of Catechesis has produced resources for the Month of Mary; some suggestions are below and you can find more at syrdio.org.
• Create a Mother’s Day card for your mother, your neighbors, or nursing home residents.
• Create your own prayer card. Include a picture of Mary on one side and write your own prayer to Mary on the reverse.
• Practice a “month of virtues” by praying the rosary and focusing on virtues. Find the Office of Catechesis’ virtues calendar at bit.ly/virtuescalendar
Holy hours for vocations
The World Day of Prayer for Vocations is a day set aside to pray that young men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord’s call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, societies of apostolic life, or secular institutes. The diocese will offer two special opportunities to pray for an increase in vocations:
The seminarians of the diocese will lead a holy hour for an increase in vocations May 1 at 3 p.m., livestreamed at facebook.com/VocationsSyracuse. The seminarians will lead prayer and reflection, and music minister Jeremy Bobak will provide music.
Celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday @ Home
The Office of Catechesis offers these suggestions for marking Good Shepherd Sunday; find details and more at syrdio.org.
• Play “Find the Lost Sheep.” Print and cut out pictures of sheep and hide them around the room or house. Have family members find the lost sheep.
• Begin a discernment journal. Reflect on what your vocation might be.You may ask yourself, What am I good at? How do I best help others? What is God calling me to be or do in and for the world?
• Pray these prayers:
Children’s “Prayer to Know My Vocation”
God, my Father, you created me with a specific purpose for my life; this is my vocation. By following Your plan, I will be happy on Earth, earn the reward of Heaven, and help others do the same. Please help me to hear, understand, and follow Your call with my whole heart, especially when it seems most difficult. Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, pray for me to know and accept God’s will for my life. Amen.
USCCB Prayer for Vocations
God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as priests, deacons, religious, and consecrated persons. Send your Holy Spirit to help us respond generously and courageously to your call. May our community of faith support vocations of sacrificial love in our youth. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.