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Christmas Time – An Ideal Season For Prayer

Virgen_de_guadalupe1I want to share an experience of prayer I enjoyed with Mary, the Mother of the Christ Child.  One past December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I was offering a Latin Mass, at 7:30pm in a pretty little Church in Winfield, Illinois, about 20 miles west of Chicago.  Before Mass, as I placed the white silk vestment over my shoulders, I admired its texture, with its exquisite hand stitching.

At homily time, I spoke briefly to the congregation, about 90 people, about the sinlessness of the Virgin Mary.  With the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe so close on December 12th, I explained this appearance of Mary in 1535, to Juan Diego, a poor Aztec Indian in Mexico.  Mary stood before the astonished man and asked him to tell the local Bishop about Mary’s request for a new Church.

I emphasized how Mary did everything possible to be close to the Aztec Indian population by speaking in the language of the poor, wearing Aztec clothing with the colors of blue and green.  She had the features of an Aztec woman.  The Bishop agreed to the new Church, only after Mary worked a miracle of roses blooming in winter and putting her vision on Juan’s cloak in his second visit to the Bishop.

As Mass went on, my mind floundered in turmoil and distress.  What this was means little to the story, but I found it difficult to say the Latin words and pay attention to their meaning.  At that time, I prayed to Mary, even as I continued the Mass under duress, “Mary, take away this disturbance from my mind.”  No answer came.  “Mary, are you there?  Are you listening?”

I felt as if I were talking to myself in a vacuum.  No relief came as I struggled to finish Mass.  In the sacristy, the man server said to me, “Did you notice what is on the back of your vestment?”  “No”, I replied.  On turning over the vestment, I saw there the vision of Our Lady of Guadalupe in all its radiant beauty with roses embroidered around it.  Our Lady had been with me all through the Mass.  As I drove the 40 miles home through the darkness, on icy expressways, gratitude to our Lady filled my heart.

Because of what happened at Winfield, my prayers to Mary have a deeper meaning for me.  She will lead me to Her Son, Our Savior, and give me a deeper appreciation of His Presence among us.                                                                                                             

Fr. George Mc Kenna

December 8, 2012 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , ,


  1. Hi Fr. George!! So timely that I can read this post on this morning, the Feast of Immaculate Conception. I feel so close to Mary at all times – thank you for the gift of faith, Fr. George – you are such a dear man! Love you!

    Comment by Nancy Westvang | December 8, 2012 | Reply

  2. Thank you for this beautiful meditation on Mary. Many years ago in Oklahoma
    City the streets were flooded as our family was heading to a basketball game at the catholic high school I was teaching at and our car stalled in the high water. Our 5th grade son at the time said, “let’s say three Hail Marys,” after we finished, the car’s motor turned over and off we went. Mary is indeed our mother looking out for us.

    Comment by Joanne Kelly | December 8, 2012 | Reply

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