Saturday, August 12 h, 2006
Heaven smiled on the thousands of pilgrim who converged on Ireland's National Shrine, Saturday August 12th, to celebrate and honour our Blessed Mother under the wondrous title: The Mother if All Nations,
It was a dry, warm, breezy day, a perfect day for travelling, as buses, cars and trains came from the four quarters of Ireland to fill the Basilica to almost capacity four and a half to five thousand people in the opinion of one official. This. in itself, was another smile from Heaven, as so many different groups make Knock their pilgrim goal during the month of August.
Fr. Paul Maria Sigl, the Founder of the Community, called "Family of Mary" was the principal celebrant of the Mass at 3pm, assisted by Fr. Paddy Hallinan, P.E., Maitland, Australia and Fr. Michael Cadogan, Cloyne. Fr. Richard C.C. of Knock ensured that the liturgy ran smoothly under his capable direction.
Assisting Fr. Paul Maria was a group of young Missionary Sisters and Brothers from Slovakia, Austria. Germany, Switzerland, Amsterdam and Rome, whose singing in the choir and playing on the harp, violin and flute earned them strong and warm appreciation from the whole assembly. The organisers and the massive congregation were happy to see over thirty priests participating in the Sacrament of the sick. We were privileged to have Mons. Joseph Quinn amongst us despite his busy schedule as the rector of our National Shrine.
Before going any further, the tale of the Choir Sisters Pilgrimage for Knock is worth a special mention. It was for them, a penance pilgrimage and a journey of Faith. They left from Rome, Slovakia and Amsterdam by plane. Their troubles began when they landed in Stansted Airport, and found themselves stranded. It was a chaotic day in England over the bomb scare. No planes were flying. Providentially, a good Samaritan directed them by a series of train journeys to Holyhead and from there by ferry to Dublin where they arrived at 6am the following morning. A member of the community drove from Knock to pick them up and they arrived at Knock Shrine thoroughly exhausted. Providence also provided the cost of the extra journey. Belonging to a community that depends on Divine Providence, they has no extra cash, but just before they left Rome, a lady gave them an envelope with a donation. When they were stranded in Stansted they opened the envelope and found the exact amount of money to cover their trip to Dublin. Praise the Lord! Surely another smile from heaven and their Heavenly Mother!
Preceding the Mass and special lectures, the usual stations of the Cross devotion was led by a clerical student for the Priesthood, Paul Cahill from Thurles. This devotional exercise was followed by a Rosary led by Fr. Paddy Hallinan. During the Rosary the statue of Our Lady of Knock was carried in procession by the Knock Shrine Committee, surrounded by flowers and candles. The whole interior of the basilica was beautifully decorated with flower arrangements. Another feature of this day of Prayer was a one hour slide-show and talk by Fr. Paul Maria Sigl prior to the Mass. He wanted to illustrate the closeness and presence of Mother Mary at significant historic moments. Scenes were flashed on the screen of the Miraculous medal, which Our Lady gave to St. Catherine Laboure. Lourdes, Fatima, Knock and other Shrines were shown but the most moving pictures were those of Manila (Philippine Islands) when in 1986 Mary demonstrated herself to be the Mother of her people in a wonderful way.
All these examples should help to understand better the incomparably importance of Mary's coming to Amsterdam under the new title: The Lady, the Mother of All Nations.
NV kv Does the Lady Waal All People To Come To Know Her As Their Mother?
The voice of the Lord explains the "why" with incomparably beautiful words in the Eucharistic messages of Amsterdam: "A Church and a people without a Mother is like a body without a soul." "The bride was not seen on the earth for no reason. Bring her among the peoples. Understand this well: also the Lord needed his Mother to come to life. Through the Mother comes life. Therefore, she must be brought into your Church and
among the peoples and you will experience the blossoming!"
(March 25th, 1973)
Is that not an incredibly beautiful
promise? We all know how urgently Ireland too needs this blossoming. But the condition for a new blossoming in the Church is that we bring Our Lady back into out Churches and among the peoples.
To this end, the Lady of All Nations gives us a new image which describes her motherly love and a simple yet powerful prayer. She insistently asks for a great worldwide action for the spreading of her prayer and image. "Help with all your means and see to the outspreading. everyone in one's way!" (June 15th, 1952). "This action is not destined for one country, but is destined for all nations." (Oct. 1 1 th, 1953). "This prayer shall be spread in Churches and by modern means." (Dec. 31st, 1951). "And I want the outspreading to be done in many languages." (March 4th, 1951). "Just as the snow melts into the ground, so the fruit, the Spirit will come into the hearts of all people who pray this prayer every day... Go with grew ardor and zeal about this work of redemption and peace, and you will behold the miracle." (April 1st, 1951). For example Bishop Joseph Nduhirubusa from Benmdi visited in 2004 the' Chapel of the Lady of All Nations on Diepenbrockst and brought her devotion back to his diocese in Africa: "In each parish of my diocese, the very beautiful image of the Mother of All Natio s is enthroned in a visible place in the chur h and almost every family has her picture. Eve where not everybody has received the image yeti everyone still prays her prayer, at least durinig Holy tlass at the thanksgiving. In our cathedral, the image from Amsterdam is enthroned td the left of the altar, similar to the "Chapel"lin Amsterdam and visible to everyone. During the war, even the rebels accepted and premed the prayer. We believe that the Lady of All Nations contributed by granting us a cease-fire and the time of peace which we are experiencing now in Burundi, after so many years of suffering!"
Another bishop from Africa, Bishop Michael Apochi from Nigeria, gave
testimony of his very beautiful and touching experience with the Lady of All Nations: " A federal road runs through my diocese and on this road, armed rabbets' attacks On travellers were rampant and out of control. Bandits robbed travellers of their property and often killed them. In search for a solution to the problems of robbers on this road, on the 23rd December 2004 I decided to consecrate the federal road t, the Lady of All Nations. We are pleased to testify that since the consecration, the operation of armed robbers on the road had .decreased immensely. Since January 2005 no threat of armed robbers has been reported on this road." Again and again the sisters or the "Family of Mary", who work at the Chapel of the Lady of All Nations in Amsterdam, receive beautiful testimonies from all over the world:
Sr. Jacinta nailer from SwitzeOand has worked in Tanzania for more than thirty years. For the last seven years she has been working with a fiery zeal for the Lady of All Nations.
"I received a prayer card of the Lady of All Nations in 1997 while on a pilgrimage. When I returned to Tanzania, I began to deepen my knowledge of the messages of Amsterdam and through that I better understood their importance . The Bishop of Mahenge ultimately gave me the task of caring for spreading the veneration of the Lady of All Nations in Tanzania. We have been able to spread out over 70,000 prayer cards in Swahili. I had the possibility to hold conferences about the Lady of All Nations for priests, religious and catechists from Tanzania. I was also able to reach people taking part in retreats from all over eastern Africa. In 2002, I was even able to inform 110 bishops from all of eastern Africa about the Lady of All Nations.
Especially in the Philippines, devotion to the Lady of All Nations is widespread. Their current president, Gloria Arroyo. placed this country with no more than 7,000 islands under the protection and patronage of the Lady of All Nations. The Filipinos really felt this protection in a special way in December 2004: "Our country has suffered very much from several strong storms, Right after the disastrous storms, another one, a still much bigger and stronger one, threatened again to hit the whole country. When this news came out, the appeal for prayer went flying over the country through text messages. and everybody really just prayed. The prayer of the Lady of All Nations was aired quite often over national TV while we prayed and braced ourselves for the disaster which never came. Even CNN reported that it was a very unusual thing that happened the great strong typhoon was headed straight for the Philippines, but quite strangely, it veered, changed direction, and went away!!"
At the beginning of January 2005 the Lady of All Nations came to Cambodia too! Devotion to the Lady of All Nations is the very first Marian devotion ever in Cambodia.
Millions of prayer cards, translated into more than 80 languages, have already been spread throughout the whole world and images of the Lady of All Nations have been placed in many churches and chapels for veneration, In addition, the faithful in many countries have assumed the responsibility to become guardians of pilgrim images of the Lady of All Nations. They bring the image for a period of time to families and friends, prayer groups, parishes and convents, to prisons, schools or nursing homes. The host welcomes any who want to come and pray before the pilgrim images. They pray, for example, the novena of the Lady of All Nations or the Rosary along with the prayer from Amsterdam. Innumerous people from all continents pray the prayer of the Lady of All Nations daily and are able to experience the power of her intercession. Everyone can cooperate in this worldwide action of peace by passing the prayer card in a kind way to those they know and even to those they do not know.
The Mother of All Nations really knows how to touch the hearts of all her children and she finds her way to all nations. With her motherly words she wants to encourage also her children from Ireland: "Tell all those who are cooperating that they shall even more, more and more, bring the prayer with the image into the world." (Nov. 15th 1951). "I assure you that the world will change." (April 29th, 1951).