The Visitation of Our Lady


The pastoral letter written in May 2008 on the beginning of the visitation of the Holy Icon within our Parish:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!


During the month of May we celebrate a number of important Feast days: the Ascension of Our Lord, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Most Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi and the Visitation of Our Lady. And in particular, we know that the month of May is dedicated to Mary. She gives us the example of trust and belief that whatever God had said to her would indeed come to pass. And what is more, she dedicated her whole life to God when she agreed, saying: “Let it be done to me according to Thy will”. In exactly the same way we should not be afraid to accept Christ our Saviour in our lives and open our hearts to Him, in our homes and in our workplaces. With Mary’s help we can accept that the clearest path to salvation is found by following Jesus, accepting his words and keeping the Commandments.

On the Feast of the Visitation we remember that Mary went to show Jesus to St. Elizabeth. In the same way, Mary wishes to visit our homes to present Jesus to us so as to strengthen our faith, trust and love for Him and His people. And just as she was present with the first Christian community in the upper room, Mary particularly wishes to join us in prayer. As a demonstration of this desire, a copy of the miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Jasna Gora will begin a visitation to our homes and families at the end of Sunday Vigil Mass at 5pm. on 31st May.

We intend this to be a time of spiritual rebirth for the whole of our Parish as each family sets aside time for prayer, reflection and openness to the Word of God. With this in mind, we would like to encourage everyone to receive the Sacraments at this time, especially of Confession and the Holy Eucharist.

This should also be a time of contemplation on the aims and purposes of our own lives. The visitation of Our Lady is a time to ask fundamental questions and find the right solutions.

    1. Is my family's life as it should be?
    2. Do I give my children a sufficient example of Christian life and a living faith?
    3. Is there anything I need to change in my life so I can become a better disciple of Jesus?

Mother


VISITATION PROGRAMME

At the very start, the picture of Our Lady of Jasna Gora will be blessed during the Solemn Mass celebrated on Saturday at 5pm on 31st May. We invite the Parish to attend as a whole community, including families, young people and children. To make this a holy occasion, we encourage you to prepare by going to Confession so that during the Mass you may accept Jesus with open hearts.
If you wish to receive the Icon of Our Lady into your house, please come to the sacristy to agree dates and times and record them in the diary. You can do this after every Mass, or by ’phone.

The Icon of Our Lady will begin its visitation in your family at the 5pm Sunday Vigil Mass on Saturday till the following Saturday. Your family will collect it by approaching the altar after Holy Communion, and – after the blessing – carry it out in solemn procession with the Celebrant and altar servers. You will also receive a folder with materials the clergy think should be helpful to you during the visitation: the Scriptures, a prayer book and hymnal, a rosary, a novena, and ideas for meditation. There will also be a book which you can write particular prayers and spiritual intentions and another commemorative book where you can record that you have taken part in this celebration.

We suggest that once at home, you set the picture in a prominent place among flowers and candles so that the whole family, and friends, if you like, can gather round after the day's work or schoolwork is done and spend some time in prayer, contemplating on the Word of God, reciting the rosary, singing hymns, or simply meditating quietly. We encourage you to pray every day so that you receive the greatest benefit from this time.

Please return the Icon by bringing it before the 5pm Mass on the following Saturday, so that the next family may take the picture to their home, and to enable it to continue its journey through the Parish.

The visitation of the miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Jasna Gora is a time of grace, prayer and joy during which we bear witness to our faith and strengthen the unity of our families. In this Icon, Mary presents Jesus to us, and in doing so, shows us the Way, the Truth and the Life. May we all have the courage to follow where she leads us.

Our Lady of Jasna Gora, pray for us.

Fr. Kazimierz Stefek
Parish Priest, SS. Mary & John’s
with the community of Pauline Fathers

If you wish to receive
the Holy Icon of Our Lady

and pray in your home
please contact us personally
to agree upon a date.