Fr. Mathai’s Weekly Reflection

May 19,  2019

Feast of Mary Help of Christians May 24th

In the month of May the church celebrates a very dear feast of the Mother of God – the feast of Mary Help of Christians.  I am happy to share some historical events showing the role of Mary in the life of Christian people.  First of all, the victory of the Christian forces over the Turks in the battle of Lepanto in 1571 was gotten through the intervention of Mary.

At the end of the 17th century, Emperor Leopold I of Austria took refuge in the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians when 200,000 Ottoman Turks invaded Vienna, and all Europe joined him to pray to our Mother saying Mary Help.  In 1809, Napoleon arrested Pope Pius VII and imprisoned him in Fontainebleau for five years.  The Pope made a promise to Mother Mary that he would institute a feast in her honor if he was released and could return to Rome.  In 1814, on May 24, Pope Pius VII was released and returned to Rome with great joy.  He then instituted the feast of Mary Help of Christians on the 24th of May.

Don Bosco had a dream at the age of nine and was shown his mission to work for the salvation of young people.  And also, he was told that Mary will be his help and teacher.  Soon after his ordination, Don Bosco spread devotion to Mary under the title Help of Christians.  He was given supernatural gifts of working miracles of body and soul in the name of Mary Help of Christians.  He founded  the salesian congregation under the patronage of Mary.  And, a magnificent church was erected in honor of Mary Help of Christians on the spot shown to him by Mary in the city of Turin, Italy.  At the end of his life he said that he did nothing without the help of Mary.  With tears, he said – “Mary did it all!”  Don Bosco guaranteed – have devotion to Mary Help of Christians and you will see what miracles are!!

God bless us all and let us put ourselves under the powerful mantle of Mary and invoke Her.  Today we are surrounded by evil everywhere.  She will defend and help us.  We shall see miracles; I promise.

✝ Fr. Mathai Vellappallil, SDB