Images of Our Lady provide comfort at home
Friday, May. 15, 2020
Different representations of Our Lady are featured in the annual Diocese of Salt Lake City's Intercultural Marian Celebration.
Editor’s note: During May, a month dedicated to Mary, the Intermountain Catholic will be featuring stories related to Our Lady.
SALT LAKE CITY — May is the month of Mary, and Catholics have a variety of ways to honor the Blessed Mother during this time.
In the Diocese of Salt Lake City, many parishes have a daily recitation of the rosary throughout the month. Others erect a special May altar, with a statue or picture of Mary.
Some parishioners bring Mary into their homes, keeping an image of the Mother of God in a prominent place. Some of these icons are brought to the annual diocesan Intercultural Marian Celebration, where they are carried in procession with others from around the world to honor the Queen of Heaven.
“While the images are at their homes, they sometimes set up special altars, and pray for her intercession,” said Maria Cruz Gray, director of the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry.
Last year, the Intercultural Marian Celebration featured more than 30 images of the Blessed Mother as she has appeared in various places around the world. These included Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Sorrows, the Virgin of Fatima, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Manaoag, Our Lady of Grace, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Evangelization, the Virgin of Copacabana, Our Lady of Coromoto and Our Lady of Zapopan.
The different representations of Our Lady emphasize that, irrespective of race, culture, language or skin color, “the most important thing is that we are one in faith, one in hope, one in love, one baptism and one Lord, under the intercession of our Blessed Mother,” Bishop Oscar A. Solis said at last year’s Marian celebration.
For most of the year, each of these images is kept at a home in the diocese. The image of Our Lady of Zapopan, for example, has for many years been cared for by Patricia Juarez, a Sts. Peter and Paul parishioner.
The Virgin, who is set on a small altar in Juarez’s bedroom, has kept her company through good times and through bad times, she said. “I am honored to have it with me.”
Juarez has a compromised immune system and is grateful to have Our Lady with her through these uncertain times, she said.
Similarly, Susana Raeuso has been taking care of the image of our Lady of Coromoto, the patron saint of Venezuela.
Raeuso, a native of Venezuela, said she cannot find the words to express what having the image means to her. “It’s very special, a privilege.”
The image stands in her living room on a special altar decorated with fresh flowers.
“Mary is our mother, and it is through her intercession that Jesus listens to us,” Raeuso said. “When we ask her for something, Jesus cannot say no to his mother.”
Our Lady, as a mother, is always protecting, caring and “always with you; she never leaves you alone,” Raeuso added.
Sometimes evil wants people to doubt “our faith, to lose our trust, but no, [Mary] is always there for us; she is protecting us, helping us,” Raeuso said.
Although this is a time of uncertainty, it is not a time to be afraid, Raeuso said. “We need to have faith; to not to be afraid.”
Raeuso believes that, through the intercession of Our Lady, she has had the faith to keep on going with joy and gratitude, despite the challenges of these times.
“I work with children, and I have not stopped working despite the situation, and I believe that is through her divine providence,” Raeuso said. “Our Lady never gives up on us.”
Many resources devoted to Mary are available online
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offers information on the Blessed Mother at http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/mary/index.cfm
They also include prayers to Mary on their “Basic Prayers” page: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/basic-prayers.cfm
Additional information about May as the month of Mary may be found at https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/overviews/months/05_1.cfm
The Catholic Apostolate Center has a website in Spanish, www.centrodelaapostoladocatolico.org. There, you will find a page devoted entirely to the Blessed Mother.
The Portal de la Virgen Maria features resources in Spanish from Pope Francis as well as articles, devotions, and other items from various sources: https://www.centrodelapostoladocatolico.org/portal-de-la-virgen-mariacutea.html
They also have a page devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe, https://www.centrodelapostoladocatolico.org/portal-de-nuestra-sentildeora-de-guadalupe.html