GREENVILLE – The Church needs to follow the example of Mary, the first missionary disciple, to move beyond the difficult times it currently faces.
“If we are going to move out of the difficulties of this time, if we are going to repair God’s church, we have to be called to holiness and recognize that Jesus Christ has something to say to us,” Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said in his homily at the Mass opening the sixth annual Marian Eucharistic Conference Nov. 10.
“That’s the way Mary has continued to be a missionary disciple,” Bishop Guglielmone said. He noted that the Marian Eucharistic Conference is a celebration of Mary, as a missionary disciple, who continues to call the faithful to “listen to my son. He is the way, the truth and the light.”
Around 400 people gathered at the Hilton Hotel for the two-day event celebrating the theme “Mary and the Eucharist.” Speakers included Father Bill Casey, Dr. John Bruchalski, Father Frank Pavone, Jeff Cavins, Doug Barry and Father Brian Mullady.
Speaking on the mystery of the Eucharist, Father Mullady, a mission preacher and retreat master for the Western Dominican Province, said Catholics struggle at times with the notion that the presence of Christ is found in the Eucharist.
“The great genius of the Catholic Mass is that through all the centuries and symbols, the Church wishes to communicate that once the priest says the Words of Institution, the altar ceases to be here on Earth. The risen Christ becomes present on the altar,” Father Mullady said. After the priest says the Words of Institution, the Eucharist is the full reality body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, he said.
“In other words, when the priest says the Words of Institution, a change occurs in the bread and wine that’s unlike any other change on Earth,” Father Mullady said. It’s “the miracle of miracles,” he said.
In his address titled “Mary, the Mother of Mercy” Cavins said the Blessed Mother is a real source of mercy, a claim supported through Biblical passages. Though Mary isn’t directly referenced in the Old Testament, there are parallels to her in several passages, he said, “and the New Testament writers bring those out, in spades.”
Cavins, a Catholic radio personality, evangelist and author, told the convention there are several roles Mary plays in people’s lives “that are Biblically placed in the Old Testament,” including references to the “queen mother” who is both an advocate and intercessor for the people of that time who came to her with requests to be forwarded to her husband, the king.
There are also references to a queen mother in the Old Testament books of Jeremiah and Second Samuel. “In the Old Testament, this is not a new concept, this is not a new Catholic doctrine,” Cavins said. “This is a foundational principal in the Old Testament that in the kingdom there is a queen who is an advocate and an intercessor.”
Moving to parallels found in the New Testament, Cavins asks, “Who is the mother of the king? Mary.
“The Blessed Virgin Mary is the queen of this new covenant. She is advocate and intercessor,” he said. “She will pray for you and intercede for you in your need.”
Father Casey, a priest with The Fathers of Mercy in Auburn, Kentucky, and a frequent guest on EWTN, addressed the convention on “The Victory of the Rosary.”
Again referencing passages from the Old Testament, Father Casey cites Second Chronicles and God’s conditions in granting mercy and forgiveness in troubled times: humility, faith, rejection of sin, and prayer.
“The Old Testament tells us in no uncertain terms that the consequences of infidelity to God on the part of the Israelites, the people of God, was calamities, war, pain and suffering, misery and death,” Father Casey said. “It’s what happens when people block out the voice of God.”
“This, my friends, is the message of Fatima,” he said. “This is what the Holy Father wants and expects from us, but it takes humility.”
Father Casey said Mary is the humblest of all God’s creatures and that the rosary is the “great prayer of the humble.”
This year’s conference drew Catholics from across the region, including Maureen Lorenzatti, a parishioner at Good Shepherd Church in McCormick. She is a member of the parish’s Joyful Journey Prayer Group.
“We come up here every year,” she said. “We wouldn’t miss it.”
Top photo, Miscellany/Terry Cregar: Kathy Rotycz, music director, plays piano while leading the choir in the prelude prior to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Nov. 10 at the opening day of the Marian Eucharistic Conference in Greenville.