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Marian Devotions

Our Lady of Vallarpadam (India)

A short history the magnificent and miraculous picture of Mary and Infant Jesus, installed at the top of the main altar of the Vallarpadam Church, was brought by Portuguese merchants under the leadership of Vasco Da Gama in 1524. In 1676 the old Church, which was known as the Church of the Holy Spirit, founded by the Portuguese missionaries, was destroyed by the heavy flood and the picture of Our Lady was found floating in the backwaters. Nobody except Paliyath Raman Valiyachan, the Prime Minister of Maharaja of Cochin, could recover it. The beautiful church at Vallarpadam, which you see now, is built on the land donated by Paliyath Raman Valiyachan. He is gratefully remembered in Vallarpadathamma, and his generosity towards the Church, by lighting the Sanctuary lamp, which he himself donated and which has been burning day and night from 1676 onwards.

In May 1752, there occurred a great miracle which made Vallarpadam a famous Pilgrim Centre. In Vallarpadam there was a young Nair Lady named Meenakshiyamma, a member of a noble family called Palliyilveedu. Together with her son, she was going to Mattancherry in a non-mechanized boat. There arose a storm and the boat capsized. Meenakshiyamma and her son went deep down into the backwater. While they were in danger, Meenakshiyamma promised Vallarpadathamma that if they were rescued by her they would be her Adimas (servants) until their death. On the third day, as per instructions in a dream, the parish priest asked the fishermen to cast net in the river, and Meenakshiyamma and her son were rescued. From that day onward, people, especially those who travel by boats and ships, come to Vallarpadam and pray for their safe journey. Meenakshiyamma and her son received Baptism, became Christians and were named Mary and Jesudas, respectively. They lived in the churchyard itself, adoring the Lord, thanking Our Lady, and proclaiming the Good News to all those who came here. Her family is still living quite near to the church. Due to its spiritual importance, His Holiness Pope Leo XIII elevated its main altar to the status of Altare Privilegiatum in Perpetuum Concessum in 1888.

Immaculate Conception (Philippines)

Among the titles under which Mary is venerated in the Philippines, two are particularly prominent: The Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of the Rosary. The invocation of the Immaculate Conception goes back to the year 1578. Then Pope Gregory XIII in a Bulletin issued on February 6, decreed that the Manila Cathedral should be erected under the invocation of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Clement VIII decreed on 13 August 1595 that the Cathedrals of Nueva Segovia and Caceres also be erected under the same title of the Immaculate Conception. Moreover, one of the three ships that reached the Philippines in the first voyage of Magallanes in 1521 was the “Concepcion,” named after the Immaculate Conception, together with the ships “Trinidad” and “Victoria.” Hence the Islands before being named Filipinas, and even before the name of Christ had begun to be preached, saw on these shores the name of Mary under her title of the Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception, whose feast falls on December 8, remains the principal Patroness of the Philippine Islands. After the suppression of several Church holy days in the Catholic Calendar of the Philippines, her feast stays as one of the three holy days of obligation during the year; the other two being Christmas and January 1, when the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, is celebrated.

Our Lady of Akita (Japan)

Our Lady of Akita is the title of Marian apparitions reported in 1973 by Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in the dremote area of Yuzawadai, near the city of Akita in Japan. The messages emphasize prayer (especially recitation of the Rosary) and penance. Rev. John Shojiro Ito, then-Bishop of Niigata and an eyewitness to some of the events at Akita, initially approved the apparition in 1984. In June 1988, Bishop Ito brought his pastoral letter of April 22, 1984 to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who allowed the pastoral letter and its dissemination to the faithful. On April 1990, the Apostolic Nuncio in Japan, Bishop William Aquin Carew in an interview with the Catholic magazine 30 DAYS, noted of Cardinal Ratzinger that: His Eminence did not give any judgment on the reliability or credibility of the ‘messages of the Virgin.’

Our Mother of Sheshan (China)

Our Mother of Sheshan or Our Lady of Sheshan, also known as Our Mother (or Lady) of Zose (Zose being the Shanghainese pronunciation of Mandarin Sheshan), is a celebrated Marian title of the Blessed Virgin Mary venerated by Chinese Roman Catholics. Among its religious devotees, the statue is sometimes known as Our Lady of Luck or Our Lady of Good Luck due to the Chinese symbolism of “Fu” (福) associated with the styling posture of the entire image. The original image is currently enshrined in the National Shrine and Minor Basilica of Our Lady, Mary Help of Christians in Shanghai, China. Sheshan Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians is one of the most prominent pilgrimage shrines in China. In May 2007, Pope Benedict XVI released a Letter to Chinese Catholics, in which he asked that May 24 each year be celebrated as a World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. He chose May 24 because it is the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, who is venerated at the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai. [6] The following year Pope Benedict composed a prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan. In May 24, 2009, during his Regina Caeli papal address, Pope Benedict XVI designated May 24, the Feast of Mary Help of Christians, as a day of prayer for Chinese Catholics calling them to renew their fidelity to the Pope as the sole successor of Saint Peter.

Our Lady of La Vang (Vietnam)

Our Lady of La Vang (Vietnamese: Đức Mẹ La Vang) refers to a reported Marian apparition at a time when Catholics were persecuted and killed in Vietnam. The Shrine of our Lady of La Vang (Basilica of Our Lady of La Vang) is situated in what is today Hai Phu commune in Hải Lăng District of Quảng Trị Province in Central Vietnam. On December 8, 1954, the statue of Our Lady of La Vang was brought from Tri Bun back to the holy shrine. The Vietnamese Bishops Conference chose the church of Our Lady of La Vang as the National Shrine in honor of the Immaculate Conception. La Vang became the National Marian Center of Vietnam on April 13, 1961. Pope John XXIII elevated the Church of Our Lady of La Vang to the rank of a minor basilica on August 22, 1961. On June 19, 1998, Pope John Paul II publicly recognized the importance of Our Lady of La Vang and expressed desire to rebuild the La Vang Basilica in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the first vision.

Marian Monthly Feast Days

  • Jan. 1: Feast of Mary the Mother of God
  • Feb. 11: Our Lady of Lourdes (World Day of the Sick)
  • Mar. 25: Annunciation Day
  • Apr. 26: Mary, Mother of Good Counsel
  • May 8: Mary, Mother and Mediatrix of Grace
  • May 13: First Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima
  • June 8: Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • June 27: Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help
  • July 16: Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Scapular Feast Day)
  • Aug. 5: Feast of Our Lady of the Snows
  • Aug. 15: Assumption of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Sept. 15: Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
  • Sept. 24: Feast of Our Lady of Ransom
  • Oct. 7: Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
  • Nov. 10: Our Lady of Loreto Miraculous Cure
  • Nov. 27: Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Dec. 3: Our Lady of Victory
  • Dec. 8: The Immaculate Conception
  • Dec. 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe