Devotion to Mary, Mother of God
Some two thousand years ago came the turning point of all human history. God, who again and again offered a covenant to man (Eucharistic Prayer IV), gave his definitive gift to humankind, Jesus Christ, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Our devotion and love of Mary is based on what we believe about Christ, and 'what the Church teaches about Mary illumines in turn our faith in Christ’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 487).
The Hail, Mary, which we are taught as children, which lies at the heart of the Rosary and the Angelus, and which many parishes say together on a Sunday, is a clear reminder of Mary - the immaculately conceived, sinless, ever-virgin, mother of Christ, assumed into heaven.
Mary has many titles one of which is Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (or Help). A Novena in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour is celebrated on Saturdays at noon.
A prayer so easy and yet so rich as the Rosary truly deserves to be rediscovered by the Christian community. One thing is clear: although the repeated Hail Mary is addressed directly to Mary, it is to Jesus that the act of love is ultimately directed, with her and through her. The repetition is nourished by the desire to be conformed ever more completely to Christ, the true programme of the Christian life (St John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 26).
The Rosary (from Latin rosarium, meaning ‘rose garden’ or ‘garland of roses’) is a popular and traditional devotion. The prayers consist of repeated sequences of the Lord’s Prayer followed by ten Hail Mary’s and a Glory Be; each of these sequences is known as a decade. The praying of each decade is accompanied by meditation on one of the Mysteries of the Rosary, which are events in the lives of Jesus Christ and his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The traditional 15 Mysteries of the Rosary were standardised, based on the long-standing custom, by Pope St Pius V in the 16th century. The mysteries are grouped into three sets: the joyful mysteries, the sorrowful mysteries, and the glorious mysteries. The total number of Hail Mary’s recited would equal 150 (the same as the number of Psalms in the Bible). In 2002, Pope St John Paul II announced five new optional mysteries, the luminous mysteries, bringing the total to 20.
The Rosary is recited in our church each weekday at 9.40am.
These four anthems to the Blessed Virgin Mary have traditionally been part of the Liturgy of the Hours and vary depending on the season. They are commonly said at the end of night prayer.
Regina Caeli (Queen of Heaven)
TRADITIONALLY USED FROM EASTER SUNDAY UNTIL TRINITY SUNDAY.
O Queen of heaven, rejoice! Alleluia.
For he whom you did merit to bear,
Alleluia, Has risen as he said. Alleluia.
Pray for us to God. Alleluia.
Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen)
Traditionally used from Trinity Sunday until Advent.
Hail, holy Queen, mother of mercy;
hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope!
To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to you do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy towards us;
and after this our exile,
show to us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Alma Redemptoris Mater (Loving Mother of the Redeemer)
Traditionally used from the first Sunday in Advent until the Presentation of the Lord (2nd Feb).
Loving mother of the Redeemer,
gate of heaven, star of the sea,
assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again.
To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator,
yet remained a virgin after as before.
You who received Gabriel's joyful greeting,
have pity on us poor sinners.
Ave Regina Caelorum (Hail, Queen of Heaven)
Traditionally used from the Presentation of the Lord (2nd Feb) until Wednesday in Holy Week.
Hail, O Queen of Heaven Enthroned!
Hail, by angels mistress owned!
Root of Jesse, Gate of morn,
whence the world’s true light was born.
Glorious Virgin, joy to you!
Loveliest whom in Heaven we see.
Fairest thou where all are fair,
Plead with Christ our sins to spare.