A cycle of hope, thanksgiving, and hope…

The story of Mary’s Central Shrine of the Miraculous Medal is a cycle of hope, thanksgiving, and hope. As I was preparing to concelebrate Eucharist in Mary’s Central Shrine on the eve of our annual Solemn Novena a few things came together.

The cycle begins with a young priest being tasked with building a seminary! Not building it with his own hands of course. But raising the funds for a much-needed seminary.

A man of deep faith and hope, Father Skelly placed a small Miraculous Medal in each appeal letter that he mailed to raise funds for the Minor Seminary. So generous was the response brought through the intercession of Mary Immaculate that Father Skelly felt some special mark of gratitude to Our Lady was in order. After prayer and consultation, it was decided to form – in March of 1915 – The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal (CAMM), a society devoted to Mary.

When he died 48 years later he had placed, as a sign of thanksgiving and hope for continued blessings,  Miraculous Medals in the very foundations of many more buildings that were dedicated to the formation of priests and brothers who literally went to the peripheries in the United States and China.

A cycle alive in 2018

Since then the cycle has been repeated over and over, not just for a young priest but for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people. One hundred years later this cycle of hope and thanksgiving continues to repeat itself.

Thousands are expected to gather at the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia over the next nine days.

  • They come because they know that in the past one hundred years literally millions have brought their hopes and listened stories of people share the stories of the blessings they have received.
  • They come filled with faith hoping in the promises made 188 years ago when Mary appeared to young woman still in the early stages of formation to serve the poor as a Daughter of Charity.
  • They come because they know that since 1830 countless millions have experienced the cycle of hope, thanksgiving and hope through the medal that came to be called by people “the miraculous medal”.

As they hope and give thanks Fr. Frank Sacks will share reflections on ” EUCHARIST: The Heart of Our Catholic Faith and Practice.”

Giving thanks – Eucharist

As I sat in the sanctuary on the eve of the 91st annual Solemn Novena the Eucharistic assembly began to sing “All are welcome”. How true! At its outset those who came to this shrine  were predominantly of European descent. Today we see people from virtually every continent.

A few moments later we sang “The Cry of the Poor”. Despite different backgrounds, the cries of the thousands who this year will come to the altar as Mary told St. Catherine they should and would will be in essence the same hope-filled cries.

For centuries people with hope have prayed “never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your assistance, or sought your intercession, was left unaided.” Does that mean everyone will receive the miracles they expect? Not necessarily. But if we understand miracles as “graced moments in our lives” we will be surprised… and grateful. There may be few crutches in the shrine but there are countless stories of graced moments, lived changed and meaning found.

Come join in this cycle of hope, thanksgiving and hope whether by your physical or virtual presence. 

Please see www.MiraculousMedal.org/Novena for the Novena flyer and further information, including schedule and daily topics.

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