‘The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.’(Invitatory antiphon)
What is in a name? A person’s name identifies him/her personally. A name is the most important word about a person. To call someone by her/his name is a way of recognising them. A person’s name is used with respect and dignity. The Lord called the prophet Isaiah and said, ‘I have called you by your name. You are mine’ (Is 43:1).
During the month of May, the Catholic Church honours Mary, Mother of God by showing devotion to her in many ways such as engaging in ritual, reading Sacred Scripture, expression in art form and through song and prayer.
Many prayers invoke Mary including the ‘Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary’. These invocations describe Mary as a loving, faithful Mother of all. Mary is ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help’. We intercede through her by naming her as, ‘Holy Mary’, ‘Holy Mother of God’, Mother of Christ’, ‘Mother of Divine Grace’, Mother of Good Counsel’ and many others.
For example, by taking one title we can pray, ‘Mother of Divine Grace, pray for us.’
Mary is also given the title of Queen, for example, ‘Queen of Apostles,’ ‘Queen of Martyrs’, Queen of All Saints’, ‘Queen of the Most Holy Rosary’, ‘Queen of All Saints’, ‘Queen of Peace’
We can pray, by just taking one title, ‘Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.’
From the litany we also appreciate Mary’s virtues. Mary is admirable, prudent, merciful, faithful and just.
Mary is described by attractive images. For example, we invoke her by calling on her as, ‘Mirror of Justice’, ‘Cause of our Joy’, ‘Spiritual Vessel’, ‘Mystical Rose’, ‘Gate of Heaven’, ‘Morning Star’, ‘Health of the Sick’, ‘Refuge of Sinners’ and ‘Comforter of the Afflicted’. Mary is also the ‘Help of Christians’. Just to chat or reflect on any one of these images gives one a sense of Mary’s all embracing, inclusive love for God and every person.
THE GROW IN LOVE PROGRAMME
In addition to what the children have already been taught in junior classes, the Grow in Love programmes for Fifth Classes/P7 and Sixth Classes/P8, use two additional lessons to teach about Mary, Mother of God. The children reflected on Mary, Mother of God from Junior Infants/P1 in Sacred Scripture, song and prayer.
At these senior class standards in the Catholic Preschool and Primary Religious Education Curriculum for Ireland (2015) GIL is written to the Strands and Strand Units in Level Four.
It is hoped that the children will recognise in Mary’s life, that God graced Mary in a special way for her mission; that Mary accepted her role in God’s plan of salvation when she willingly became the Mother of God; that Mary was a woman of faith, obedience and wisdom; that Mary grew in faith and she devoted herself to the person and work of her Son; that Mary was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life (Immaculate Conception); Mary was taken up body and soul into heaven when her earthly life was finished (Assumption).
In addition, students will read passages from Sacred Scripture about Mary and they will pray in her honour. Building on prior knowledge, teachers will introduce the pupils in Fifth Class/P7 to the Polish Mary: the Black Madonna of Czestochowa.
In Sixth Classes/P8, GIL introduces the Mysteries of Light (the Luminous Mysteries). St John Paul 11 introduced these mysteries to help people meditate on significant moments in Jesus’ life.
It may be a good idea to do a Bible Search on each of the Mysteries of Light; The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, The Wedding Feast of Cana, The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, The Transfiguration of Our Lord, and The Institution of the Eucharist.
GIL 8, also introduces the icon of ‘Our Mother of Perpetual Help.’ The prayer ‘Hail Holy Queen’ is also taught.
Families together recall and identify Marian Shrines where people go on pilgrimage to honour Mary. They recognise stories associated with these places of apparition.
Children will be taught the origins and significance of the Black Madonna.
Using the Grow in Love programme, families are invited to grow in appreciation of the variety of images of Mary by artists over time. Through this they will grow in a deeper understanding of Mary and her faith.
The Rosary becomes a familiar prayer that is central to all Marian devotions internationally.
The image of ‘Mary Undoer of Knots’ was made known to the world by Pope Francis. He saw the image in Augsburg while he was studying in Germany and brought it back to Argentina. He then spread devotion to Mary, Undoer of Knots. Families are reminded on looking at this image that Mary will help us undo the knots, or problems in our lives. This is now a very popular devotion.
Listening to these songs and watching the video lyrics might be helpful in fostering devotion to Mary, Mother of God: ‘A Mhuire Mháthair’, ‘Bring Flowers of the Rarest’ ,’When Creation Was Begun’, ‘Mary’, ‘Mary our Mother’ ‘Hail Mary’, ‘Regina Coeli’, ‘Magnificat’.
On the dashboard of the VERITAS website there is access to resources which will help families learn about Mary, the Mother of God. Resources for prayer are accessible in the Grow in Love e-books, especially for Fifth/ P7 and Sixth Classes.
Resources include a slideshow on the images of Mary, a slideshow and an online interactive activity on the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary; prayer; video lyrics for ‘A Mhuire Mháthair’, ‘Bring Flowers of the Rarest’; a Multi lingual version of ‘Hail Mary’ and a Map of Marian Shrines.
There are a variety of journal activities, prayers and reading from Sacred Scripture to help pupils to pray, chat and grow in faith and love. Throughout the Liturgical Year in the various themes and lessons, students will come to understand and know that Mary is a role model for disciples. She is the first disciple.
Those who desire to imitate Mary’s attributes and virtues can ask her in prayer for that grace so as to grow more in love of God and others each day. Mary always leads us to Jesus as we grow in discipleship.
From GROW IN LOVE/ I NGRÁ DÉ
SIGN OF THE CROSS
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
COMHARTHA NA CROISE
In ainm an Athar, agus an Mhic agus an Spioraid Naoimh. Áiméan.
HAIL HOLY QUEEN
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy.
Hail our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To thee do we cry,
poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears!
Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this, our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary.
THE MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY
The Joyful Mysteries
- The Annunciation
- The Visitation
- The Nativity (The Birth of Jesus)
- The Presentation
- The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
The Mysteries of Light
- The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan
- The Wedding Feast of Cana
- The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
- The Transfiguration of Our Lord
- The Institution of the Eucharist
The Sorrowful Mysteries
- The Agony in the Garden
- The Scourging at the Pillar
- The Crowning With Thorns
- The Carrying of the Cross
- The Crucifixion
The Glorious Mysteries
- The Resurrection
- The Ascension
- The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
- The Assumption of Mary
- The Crowning of the Blessed Virgin as Queen of Heaven and Earth
‘I am going now to prepare a place for you, and I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you also may be, alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon)
‘The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, alleluia.’ (Magnificat antiphon)
‘Before the mountains were formed, before you made the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity-you are God.’ (Psalm 88:2).
Sr Anne Neylon