Sheila Grove

ERIE — Catholics take great comfort in knowing that those who live in God’s heavenly presence intercede on their behalf. At baptism, parents name their children after saints and entrust them to his or her protection.

Immaculate Conception Church, Brookville
Photo/Anne-Marie Welsh

           Holy men and women who have gone before inspire Catholics by their lives. Their very human lives, often full of falls and foibles help the faithful remain hopeful and trusting in the mercy of God.

          Among those who serve as models and inspiration, Catholics are deeply devoted to Mary, the mother of Jesus. From the cross, as Jesus entrusted her care to John, he entrusted the care of all humanity to her.

          Mary inspires devotion, not by calling attention to herself, but by always directing attention to her son. She is relatable as a woman and a mother and inspirational because of her complete and total acceptance of God’s will, her Fiat.

          Catholics refer to Mary by multiple names because of her many roles and her appearances after her assumption into heaven. One role, Immaculate Mother, is celebrated on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

          This feast celebrates that Mary was conceived without sin. In her humanity, she is like us, except for that. And that is no small thing! God chose the perfect vessel for Jesus’ incarnation and underscores the myriad reasons Catholics look to Mary for inspiration, guidance and protection.

          Hail Mary, full of grace!


Editor’s note: Enjoy this prayerful Hail Mary shot on location at Fatima, the site of the Marian apparitions beginning in 1917, and performed by Andrea Bocelli.