The Catholic Defender: Deepertruth Travels to Our Lady of Perpetual Help In KC
What a great evening it was (3/26/2019) as Dr. Gregory Thompson and I was given the opportunity to speak before a group composing of RCIA Candidates and their Confirmation class with parents.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Kansas City Missouri is a very beautiful Church founded in 1876 by Redemptorist priests and religious coming from New Orleans. This is the same order that the "Healing" Priest, Blessed Father Francis Xavier Seelos who had been instrumental serving as a missionary from Germany helped many during the Yellow Fever epidemic shortly following the Civil War.
Father Seelos himself died of Yellow Fever on October 4, 1867 at age 48 years old. Pope St. John Paul II proclaimed Father Seelos Blessed in St. Peter's Square during the Year of Jubilee April 9, 2,000.
While serving in the United States Army stationed in New Orleans between October 2002 until December 2005 I had many opportunities to meet pilgrims traveling the world over to the Shrine of Blessed Father Seelos.
I would take the opportunity talking with pilgrims to remember to give thanks for answered prayers as did the one Leper who returned to Jesus and gave thanks for his healing. The Mass is the place to offer such thanks!
Something more about the Redemptorist, in 1865, Pope Pius IX entrusted the Redemptorist Fathers with a Byzantine Icon of the Blessed Mother depicting her care of Jesus as Her little boy. Hence the name, "Our Lady of Perpetual Help".
The icon is about 54 x 41.5 centimeters holding the child Jesus with the Archangels Michael and Gabriel hovering in the upper corners. They are holding the instruments of Jesus Passion. St. Michael is depicted on the left side of the image holding a spear and wine-soaked sponge along with the crown of thorns. St. Gabriel is depicted in the right corner of the image holding the cross and nails.
Jesus is contemplating the future Passion feeling anguish shown by the loss of one of his sandals. The golden background symbolizes the Lord's triumph over sin and death and the glory of the resurrection.
Today it is permanently enshrined in the Church of Saint Alphonsus, where the official Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help is prayed weekly.
What a great joy and honor it was to have been given this opportunity to speak before a group consisting of Confirmation students and their parents, more students preparing for their first Holy Communion, and RCIA Candidates.
This opportunity grew out of the Marian Association's Marian Conferences and members of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parishioners made the invite to Dr. Gregory Thompson. I was honored to have been asked to join in on the mission.
Dr. Thompson gave an inspiring talk designed to reach out to the young members of the crowd. A volunteer came up before the crowd as he answered some questions posed by Dr. Thompson. When asked what the crowd would do if anyone had wished to do any harm to this young man, would anyone here take a stand to defend this child, the entire crowd stood up with the affirmative.
The idea being that so much evil is taking place trying to steal the minds of our young people and how it is important that we give these children the greatest gift of all, the gift of Our Holy Faith.
Dr. Thompson shared a couple of inspiring videos depicting the suffering of Jesus through the eyes of His Mother, the Virgin Mary. The Other was a video showing the importance of the Catholic Faith.
Along with Dr. Thompson's talk, he shared some of the history of the Saints pointing to a number of relics we had displayed consisting of the Crown of Thorns, the crib Jesus laid in, a number of items from Jesus and Mary, and several Saints such as St. Maria Goretti and St. Francis. The crowd learned the difference from a 1st and 2nd degree relic. The first being a part of the body, the second being a part of their clothing as an example.
I was given the honor of participating speaking before this group encouraging those who were receiving the Sacraments for the first time. There were some in the crowd who were young adults who had not been Baptized and were receiving what I called the Sacramental Grand Slam as they were going to also receive Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist.
I asked them if they knew who the Quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs was and the Confirmation class became very excited exclaiming "Patrick Mahomes", boy they really knew about him? Nothing against Patrick Mahomes (who I also like) I wanted to make the point how much more important it is to know Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints.
I also asked them what they knew about knights? They had a good idea what a knight looked like from knowing Pop Culture, what they had seen on Television or in books. I shared with them what Ephesians 6:10-20 taught putting on the "Whole Armour of God"! I shared with them the three components of the Sign of the Cross. I asked the crowd what one of them was? A second grader raised his hand and I called upon him, he said the "Father" and with a pause I finished the answer with the Trinity.
I asked what would be a second component and a Sophomore raised his hand and I called to him and he refereed to the cross, hence, Sign of the Cross! I asked what the thirds component was and this one stumped the crowd a little bit. I went back to the imagery of the Knight and Ephesians 6:10-20. I specifically pointed to Vs 16 which states, "In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield , to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one".
When you bless yourself with the Sign of the Cross, you form this shield covering you as you pray!
I want to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to pray for all our young people receiving the Sacraments this coming Easter Vigil and or designated dates when the Parishes across the Country conduct them. To pray for their continued protection and innocence. Pray also for more vocations!
Pray for the Christian family which has been under attack, prayer, we got to have it!
We bless your name, O Lord, for sending your own incarnate Son, to become part of a family, so that, as he lived its life, he would experience its worries and its joys.
We ask you, Lord, to protect and watch over this family, so that in the strength of your grace its members may enjoy prosperity, possess the priceless gift of your peace, and, as the Church alive in the home, bear witness in this world to your glory.
We ask this thought Christ our Lord. Amen.