This statue of the Blessed Mother graces the sanctuary of the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Philadelphia. Courtesy photo

This statue of the Blessed Mother graces the sanctuary of the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Philadelphia. Courtesy photo


By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor

The Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia will once again be a graced place of welcome, warmth and prayer to the thousands of people who are expected to participate in the various services surrounding the Feast of the Miraculous Medal.

Among the throng who will journey to the shrine, located at 500 East Chelten Avenue in the city’s historic Germantown section, will be Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., who has been invited to be the principal celebrant and homilist of a feast day Mass Nov. 21 at 10 a.m.

“Bishop O’Connell’s return to Germantown to celebrate the Miraculous Medal Feast Day Mass makes the day even happier,” said Vincentian Father Michael J. Carroll, Miraculous Medal Shrine director and spiritual director of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal.

Well aware of Bishop O’Connell’s busy schedule in the Trenton Diocese, Father Carroll added how the Bishop’s presence is appreciated by members of the Vincentian community who staff the shrine and adjacent seminary. “His being the homilist allows him to share a story that he knows so well in the clearest terms with all the faithful gathered in Mary’s Shrine,” said Father Carroll.

During the nine days leading up to the feast day, the shrine will hold its 91st annual solemn novena from Nov. 12-20. This year’s novena will have “Eucharist: The Heart of Our Catholic Faith and Practice” as its theme and will be led by Vincentian Father Francis W. Sacks. The  novena will conclude on Nov. 21 with the feast day Mass celebrated at 10 a.m. by Bishop O’Connell.

The schedule for each weekday will include the celebration of Mass and novena prayers at 7 a.m., and Mass, novena prayers and sermon at 9 a.m., 12:05 p.m. and 7 p.m. At 2 and 5 p.m., there will be novena prayers, a sermon and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

On Nov. 17-18, novena prayers, Mass and a sermon will be held at 9 a.m. and 12:05 p.m.

Each day of the services will be live-streamed at 9 a.m. and posted to the shrine’s website at It will also be available as a recording after the 9 a.m. Mass each day starting at around 11:30 a.m.

The themes of Father Sacks’ sermons will be: “Introductory Rites: Opening Our Hearts to the Sacred Mysteries,” Nov. 12; “Proper Prayers (Collect, Offering, and Communion): Addressing God from Our Hearts,” Nov. 13; “Liturgy of the Word (Epistle-Response-Gospel-Homily): Listening with Hearts Open to God’s Word,” Nov. 14; “Creed: Renewing Heartfelt Baptismal Promises,” Nov. 15; “Intercessory Prayers: Declaring Heartfelt Needs to God in Christ’s Name,” Nov. 16; “Preface and Sanctus: Opening Our Hearts to Praise God with All the Angels and Saints,” Nov. 17; “Eucharistic Prayer: Praying Thankfully with All God’s People,” Nov. 18; “Holy Communion: Uniting Our Hearts in Christ’s Prayer, Peace and Real Presence,” Nov. 19; “Dismissal: Going Forth to Evangelize the World with Hearts Renewed,” Nov. 20.

Father Sacks currently serves as associate director of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal and chaplain of St. Catherine’s Infirmary at St. Vincent Seminary located on the grounds of the shrine.

The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal is a Catholic nonprofit established in 1915 by the Vincentians. The Miraculous Medal Shrine was built in 1927 to help spread the devotion to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and support the mission work of the Vincentian priests and brothers on behalf of those most in need.

Father Carroll said the novena has been held every year at the Miraculous Medal Shrine since 1927 and starts nine days before Thanksgiving since the Feast of the Miraculous Medal is Nov. 27. He said there are billions of people worldwide who wear the Miraculous Medal, which is struck with an image shown to St. Catherine Laboure in Paris, during her third Marian apparition in 1830. The medal shows the Blessed Mother standing on a glove with rays of light streaming from her outstretched hands. Around Mary is the inscription, “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”

“The Solemn Novena provides the faithful with an opportunity before the feast to respond to Mary’s invitation to come to the altar and place their needs in her open hands so she may take them to her son,” Father Carroll said.

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