The story behind the celebration
+ The picture of “Our Lady of Perpetual Succour” is a Byantine icon written in the thirteenth century and housed in the Roman Church of Saint Alphonsus.
+ The image depicts the Mother of God holding the Divine Child while the archangels Michael and Gabriel show him the instruments of the Passion.
+ Once entrusted to the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine, the image and its devotion were entrusted to the Redemptorists by Blessed Pope Pius IX.
+ The image and the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help invite Christians to remember Mary’s maternal and protecting love and her unfailing intercession on behalf of those in need.
On this day, the Church also celebrates the memory of the Bishop and Doctor of the Church Saint Cyril of Alexandria. A participant in the Council of Ephesus, he fought to defend the Church’s teachings of the two natures of Christ.
“As the Council teaches, the Mother of God is the Christian’s model in faith, love and perfect union with Christ; and in a special way she is the Mother and model of those who live the consecrated life.”—Pope Saint John Paul II
O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy most powerful name, which is the safeguard of the living and the salvation of the dying. O Purest Mary, O Sweetest Mary, let thy name henceforth be ever on my lips. Delay not, O Blessed Lady, to help me whenever I call on thee, for, in all my needs, in all my temptations I shall never cease to call on thee, ever repeating thy sacred name, Mary, Mary.
O what consolation, what sweetness, what confidence, what emotion fill my soul when I pronounce thy sacred name, or even only think of thee. I thank God for having given thee, for my good, so sweet, so powerful, so lovely a name. But I will not be content with merely pronouncing thy name: let my love for thee prompt me ever to hail thee, Mother of Perpetual Help. Amen.
(Tradition prayer in honor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.