UPDATED: At Philly Mass, Bishop O’Connell speaks of graces from Mary’s intercession

November 27, 2023 at 12:20 p.m.
Bishop O'Connell preaches his homily during the Mass he celebrated at the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on Nov. 22.
Bishop O'Connell preaches his homily during the Mass he celebrated at the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on Nov. 22. (Facebook photo)

By MARY STADNYK
Associate Editor

Thousands visited the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Philadelphia Nov. 13-21 for a novena to Our Lady, and, at the closing Mass, Trenton Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., spoke of “all the great graces that are given to us through her intercession.”

As the basilica shrine marked the conclusion of its annual novena, Bishop O’Connell reflected on the Miraculous Medal and “the miracles that come our way because of that medal — miracles and stories as different as each one of us in the shrine — miracles that all have something in common: They begin in God with a mother’s heart, with a mother’s love, with a mother’s faith, with a mother who brings us in all our needs known only to us and her, to the heart of her Son, to her Son who knows what we need before we even whisper or ask, and who, alone answers our prayers.”

The basilica shrine is located in Philadelphia’s Germantown section and was built in 1875 to help spread the devotion to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Earlier in the 19th century in Paris, Mary appeared to St. Catherine Labouré, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and the visions led to the creation of the Miraculous Medal.

Bishop O’Connell was invited to celebrate the Miraculous Medal feast day Mass Nov. 22, although the actual feast was observed Nov. 27. Because Nov. 27 falls on a different day each year, the basilica shrine schedules the feast day Mass to be celebrated the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

In his homily, Bishop O’Connell reflected on the day’s Gospel, which told the story of the Wedding Feast at Cana.

Noting how St. John “makes a point of writing the ‘Mother of Jesus was there,’” Bishop O’Connell said Mary was present for all the pivotal moments in her son’s life — his first public appearance and first miracle, the first moments of his human life in his conception and birth, and at the final moments of his human life, where she stood beneath the cross on Calvary.”

“Before he died, as he glanced down through his tears, she became his enduring gift to St. John and to us all,” said Bishop O’Connell. “As his lifeless body was placed in her arms, through her tears, she could whisper: ‘This is my body, this is my blood.’ He was her Eucharist.”

Though not much is known about the life of Jesus from age 12 to 30, there are references in St. Luke’s Gospel that indicate how obedient Jesus was to Mary and Joseph, said Bishop O’Connell. In turn, Mary asked the servants at the wedding feast to be obedient to Jesus, saying, “Do whatever he tells you.”

“The one to whom he became obedient continues to say to us, ‘Do whatever he tells you,’” he said.

Bishop O’Connell reflected on the relationship between mother and son, as they were both chosen by God the father for a mission to humanity, although with connected, yet different roles. Both were without sin, although living together and subject to sinners. Both had the same flesh and blood and human nature, although Jesus alone was divine.


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Thousands visited the Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Philadelphia Nov. 13-21 for a novena to Our Lady, and, at the closing Mass, Trenton Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., spoke of “all the great graces that are given to us through her intercession.”

As the basilica shrine marked the conclusion of its annual novena, Bishop O’Connell reflected on the Miraculous Medal and “the miracles that come our way because of that medal — miracles and stories as different as each one of us in the shrine — miracles that all have something in common: They begin in God with a mother’s heart, with a mother’s love, with a mother’s faith, with a mother who brings us in all our needs known only to us and her, to the heart of her Son, to her Son who knows what we need before we even whisper or ask, and who, alone answers our prayers.”

The basilica shrine is located in Philadelphia’s Germantown section and was built in 1875 to help spread the devotion to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Earlier in the 19th century in Paris, Mary appeared to St. Catherine Labouré, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and the visions led to the creation of the Miraculous Medal.

Bishop O’Connell was invited to celebrate the Miraculous Medal feast day Mass Nov. 22, although the actual feast was observed Nov. 27. Because Nov. 27 falls on a different day each year, the basilica shrine schedules the feast day Mass to be celebrated the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

In his homily, Bishop O’Connell reflected on the day’s Gospel, which told the story of the Wedding Feast at Cana.

Noting how St. John “makes a point of writing the ‘Mother of Jesus was there,’” Bishop O’Connell said Mary was present for all the pivotal moments in her son’s life — his first public appearance and first miracle, the first moments of his human life in his conception and birth, and at the final moments of his human life, where she stood beneath the cross on Calvary.”

“Before he died, as he glanced down through his tears, she became his enduring gift to St. John and to us all,” said Bishop O’Connell. “As his lifeless body was placed in her arms, through her tears, she could whisper: ‘This is my body, this is my blood.’ He was her Eucharist.”

Though not much is known about the life of Jesus from age 12 to 30, there are references in St. Luke’s Gospel that indicate how obedient Jesus was to Mary and Joseph, said Bishop O’Connell. In turn, Mary asked the servants at the wedding feast to be obedient to Jesus, saying, “Do whatever he tells you.”

“The one to whom he became obedient continues to say to us, ‘Do whatever he tells you,’” he said.

Bishop O’Connell reflected on the relationship between mother and son, as they were both chosen by God the father for a mission to humanity, although with connected, yet different roles. Both were without sin, although living together and subject to sinners. Both had the same flesh and blood and human nature, although Jesus alone was divine.

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