My Dear Friends,
During the month of May we pay special tribute in our Catholic schools to Mary, as she is of major importance to us as Catholics.
The Hail Mary is one of the most popular prayers in our schools. Many times, we, even as adults, pray it so often that we don’t take the time to really think about what we are praying. In May, we make a concerted effort to prioritize Mary in our schools as the perfect example of humility and acceptance of God’s will. Praying the Hail Mary at home with your children can be a “teachable moment”. Let’s take a look at the words of this prayer to see the many lessons we can learn from it in our Catholic schools and in our homes.
Hail Mary, full of grace
Pope Francis indicates, “that Mary is full of God’s presence. And if she is entirely inhabited by God, there is no place in her for sin. It’s something extraordinary, because everyone, unfortunately, is contaminated by evil. Looking inside, each one of us sees dark sides. The greatest saints were also sinners and all realities, even the most beautiful, are affected by evil – all, except Mary. She is the only ‘evergreen oasis’ of humanity, the only uncontaminated one, created immaculate to receive fully with her ‘yes,’ God who was coming to the world to thus begin a new history.” Mary was filled with God’s grace from the moment of her Immaculate Conception. God chose her to be the mother of our Savior, and she freely accepted.
The Lord is with Thee
When I attended Immaculate Conception School in Westerly, R.I. as a boy, I can vividly remember being taught by the good Sisters that this must be Mary’s favorite line of the prayer. The Lord, whom she conceived, is with her always. She was the first Christian, and the Lord has been with her since the Annunciation.
Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus
These words come directly from the Gospel of Luke, who describes the meeting of Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. These words resound as much today as they did more than 2000 years ago. The “fruit of her womb” was, is, and always will be Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen
It is almost impossible for our human brains to fully comprehend the power of God to choose a mortal to be the Mother of our Savior. Since the Holy Trinity is one, this does make her the mother of God, the Son. Even though she is in heaven, she still nurtures the body of Christ (us) on earth and prays for us with the true love of a mother.
If we reflect on what the words of this prayer mean, and also on the mysteries of the Rosary while praying, and share these reflections with our children in our schools and at home, we truly can instill upon our children that Our Lady’s grace and love will descend upon us as she is our Spiritual Mother.
May the joy of the Risen Jesus be with your families always,
Henry Fiore, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools