April 30, 2023

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

May is the month dedicated to Our Lady. It is a time when the People of God express with particular intensity their love and devotion for the Mother of God. We honor her not only as the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also as our spiritual mother, who constantly watches over us and wraps her mantle of protection around us.

The Church regards Mary as the perfect disciple, the model for all who wish to follow Christ, her Son. Mary imitates Christ perfectly because of her humility. Her “Fiat”“Let it be done to me according to Your Will” sums up her whole life. She always desired to fulfill whatever God would require of her. We do not see much of her in the Scripture because the focus was on Jesus. She was happy to fade into the background; she did not distract us from her Son, who alone should be the center of each of our lives. This is why Mary is the model for every person.

Contemplating the beautiful face of Mary during this month of May means imitating her virtues. As Mary made room for Jesus, both in her womb and in her life, we too can open our lives to welcome the Lord in and make room for him to dwell within us. When recalling her generous Yes to God’s plan, we must allow ourselves to say Yes to whatever God’s plan is for us, no matter how difficult or incomprehensible it might be at times.

Pope Pius XII, in his 1947 Encyclical “Mediator Dei, encouraged special prayers to the Blessed Mother during the month of May. Popes down the centuries have consistently taught and promoted Marian devotions throughout the Church. Most recently, Pope Francis himself has expressed this desire for the faithful: “I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May. This can be done either as a group or individually; you can decide according to your own situations, making the most of both opportunities. The key to doing this is always simplicity, and it is easy also on the internet to find good models of prayers to follow… I myself will pray in the month of May, in spiritual union with all of you.”  (Holy Father’s Letter for the Month of May 2020).

In our parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Marian devotions are always an important part of life. We are proud to have active groups dedicated specifically to Marian devotions, such as the Legion of Mary, the Rosary Society, the Virgin of Guadalupe Group, the First Saturday Devotion, etc. Throughout the week, the faithful remain after each Mass to pray the Rosary and other Litanies to Our Lady. Every Wednesday, a special Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is prayed after the Noon Mass. The beautiful shrines in our chapel honoring Mary under various titles are a powerful testimony to the love that people across different cultures have for the Mother of God; none of those shrines is ever without fresh flowers or burning votive candles.

As we honor Mary during this month in church and at home, let us invoke her divine love and protection not only upon ourselves, but also upon our mothers, living and deceased, who will be honored in a special way on Mother’s Day, and upon our children and youth who will be receiving their first Holy Communion and Confirmation this month. May we all remain close to Mary’s maternal heart, and know the joy of union with Jesus, her Son.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

Msgr. Cuong M. Pham