|THE QUEENSHIP OF MARY: Since there is no feast of the Miraculous Medal on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, the Feast of The Queenship of Mary is the closest event we have to a patronal feast day for our parish. The eighth day after Mary’s Assumption celebrates her Queenship. Where Jesus is revered as the King of Kings, Mary is rightfully the Queen Mother, not just of Jesus, but of all God’s children. The Queenship of the Blessed Mother will be observed at the 9:00am Mass this Monday August 22nd. Here is an article I recently wrote about this feast for the Diocese:|
Of the Diocese of Lansing’s 72 parishes, did you know that 20 of them are named for Our Lady? Many are just named St. Mary’s, but we also have Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima, St. Mary Star of the Sea, Immaculate Conception, Immaculate Heart of Mary, and two parishes dedicated to Mary as Queen: St. Mary Queen of Angels in Swartz Creek and the parish where I serve as pastor, Queen of the Miraculous Medal in Jackson.
It was Pope Pius XII who defined Mary’s Assumption into Heaven during the Marian Holy Year of Jubilee in 1950. That same Pope promulgated this feast day of the Blessed Mother on October 11, 1954, with a letter entitled, Ad Caeli Reginam, “To the Queen of Heaven,” in which he wrote:
From the earliest ages of the Catholic church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen (par. 1).
In a church that has existed for 2,000 years, a feast that is less than 70 years old seems relatively new, and yet the history of Mary’s queenship stretches back to the first centuries of the Church. In the midst of the ruins of the Roman Forum, once the seat of power of a great empire, you can still visit the little 6th century church of Santa Maria Antiqua, Ancient St. Mary, in which you will find a 1500-year-old mosaic depicting the Blessed Mother as an Empress with a jeweled crown on her head (seen at left in the above image). This fits the description of Our Lady as seen by John the Evangelist in The Book of Revelation, as ‘a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars’ (Rev. 12:1).
Mary gained the title of Queen from the very moment Gabriel announced that she would be with child at the Annunciation in the Grotto at Nazareth. The Archangel promised that her son would sit on ‘the throne of his ancestor David,’ and ‘he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end’ (Luke 1:32-33).
In ancient Israel, the king’s mother always carried the rank of Queen. Requests made of the king were often transmitted through his mother. A most famous example of this practice is found in 2 Kings 13 when Adonijah, fourth son of King David, asks a favor of Queen Bathsheba, requesting that she approach her son King Solomon to allow him to marry. When the queen mother approaches Solomon, he did her homage, not the other way around, and the request was granted.
In the same way, Christians for 2,000 years have approached Jesus through Mary, ad Iesum per Mariam. Jesus would refuse her nothing, so great is his love for her, and we do well to make our requests of him through her holy and grace-filled intercession.
Jesus is a king unlike any other, and his kingdom endures forever, stretching far beyond the confines of earth below or heaven above. In much the same way, the Queenship of Mary is both earthly and heavenly, holy and humble, drawing all who seek her intercession into a deeper love for her and for her son.
We conclude our reflection turning once more to the words of Pope Pius XII in the document instituting this great feast:
Let all, therefore, try to approach with greater trust the throne of grace and mercy of our Queen and Mother, and beg for strength in adversity, light in darkness, consolation in sorrow; above all let them strive to free themselves from the slavery of sin and offer an unceasing homage, filled with filial loyalty, to their Queenly Mother. Let her churches be thronged by the faithful, her feast-days honored; may the beads of the Rosary be in the hands of all; may Christians gather, in small numbers and large, to sing her praises in churches, in homes, in hospitals, in prisons. May Mary’s name be held in highest reverence, a name sweeter than honey and more precious than jewels (Par. 48).
And from the time-honored Litany of Loreto: Queen of Angels, Queen of Patriarchs, Queen of Prophets, Queen of Apostles, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of Confessors, Queen of Virgins, Queen of all Saints, Queen conceived without original sin, Queen assumed into heaven, Queen of the most holy Rosary, Queen of families, Queen of peace. PRAY FOR US.
BACK TO CLASS: This week marks the reopening of the Jackson Catholic Schools after summer break. It is not too late to register your child for fall classes if you are looking to make a change. JCS is committed to keeping Catholic education in Jackson accessible, affordable and exceptional. The children pray every day, attend Mass every week and our classes and curriculum are preserved free from the moral confusion that is creeping into our education system all across the country. Families who do not use the Catholic schools are supposed to enroll their children in the parish Faith Formation program. These classes begin on Sunday September 11th.
Sadly, our records show that 181 children in the parish are not enrolled in any program of religious instruction. In this world that is increasingly hostile to the Gospel, I fail to see how families that do not regularly attend Mass, pray together or put their kids in religion class can hope or expect that their children will somehow stay Catholic as they get older. We are failing these children by not anchoring them in the scripture, spirituality and the teachings of Jesus and His Church. As always, I renew my invitation, strong admonition and encouragement to the parents of these children to talk to us, either about financial aid for Catholic school or to enroll them in Sunday Faith Formation. If you know one of these families, please see that this message gets into their hands.
For Queens School Info, call 517.782.2664. For Lumen Christi info, call 517.787.0630. Queens and JCS offer a variety of means to help families make Catholic education fit into their budget: use of the TRIP program, a financial need assessment thru FACTS that leads to scholarships and financial aid, diocesan grants, minority scholarships and multiple child discounts. We want to talk to everyone who will listen about the accessibility and affordability of Jackson Catholic Schools.
Faith Formation Classes will begin Sunday, September 11, 2022With the new school year right around the corner, it is time to think about registration for our Sunday morning Faith Formation classes. Classes are available for public school and/or home school children in grades PreK 3 through 12th grade, as well as an Adult Faith Formation class. There is also a special class for children participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (adapted for children.) Our first day of class will be September 11, 2022, and classes will run from 10:15-11:45 every Sunday, with a few Sundays off during the school year. Classes are held in Queens’ school. The last day of class will be May 21, 2023. Each year our Faith Formation calendar includes a fall field trip, a winter field trip, May crowning and an end of the year fun fest. There are also celebrations of special saints days, liturgical feasts, parties and other fun activities to which parents are invited. Tuition costs this year will be the same as last year– $75 for one child, $125 for two children, and $175 for 3 or more. Financial assistance is available, as well as the option of participating in our Tuition Reduction Program (TRIP) to help defray the costs. Please contact Betsy Koval at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance. We are looking forward to a fun and faith-filled year. Please feel free to email or call Director of Faith Formation Betsy Koval (email@example.com, or 783-2748) if you have any questions or concerns!Click here to register public school children for Sunday Faith Formation:
You may also pay online using the same form. If you would rather not pay online or need financial assistance or use TRIP, please select “offline payment.”
A new and improved version of Children’s Liturgy of the Word will be back at the Sunday 9am and 10:30am Masses beginning September 11th. Children’s Liturgy is available for children between the ages of 4 and those up to 3rd grade. This will be more strictly enforced this year. The program is not designed for those who are too young or too old!
CALLING ALL CONVERTS: As all the parish programs gear up for the fall, we are also looking to publicize the RCIA or Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This program is for anyone considering becoming Catholic, both those who have never been baptized and Christians of other denominations. The first meeting is Wednesday August 31st beginning at 6:30pm in the lower level of the parish offices. To learn more or to sign up you can contact Betsy Koval in the Faith Formation Office. Her contact info is above. Some of the greatest preachers and missionaries of Catholic history are themselves converts to the faith. Someone in their life inspired them, invited them and prayed them into the Catholic Church. This is how we pass on the treasures of our faith to those around us, not only parents to their children but to those in this world who do not know God or Jesus Christ. This is intentional missionary discipleship, spreading the faith to new audiences.
This Monday August 22nd there is a Red Cross Knights of Columbus Catholic Community Blood Drive at St. John’s Father Murray Center from noon – 5:45pm. This was originally scheduled for St. Mary. Please make note of the change in venue.
REMINDER ABOUT DOORS: Please be advised when you come to Mass this weekend that the side entrances to the church are boarded up and blocked off. The only way in and the only way out will be through the Carlton doors or the elevator entrance. These lobbies will be closed until September 17th.
Fr. Tim MacDonald