From the Desk of Father Nathan

St Gabriel Catholic Church | Pompano Beach
God Bless You All

Father Nathan St Gabriel | September 08, 2019

A Message from Father Nathan

My dearest people who are close to my heart.

The Birthday of the Blessed Mother Mary

Birthdays bring joy to our heart, hence we all love to celebrate birthdays. Today is the birthday of our dear Blessed Mother. Sunday liturgy always supersedes all celebrations, if not our holy mother church could have celebrated today September 8th as the birthday of our Blessed Mother.  What a delight and joy to celebrate any mother’s birthday especially Our Blessed Mother, the Mother of all.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, also known as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Vailankanni

Back home, there is a place called Vailankanni.  The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health, also known as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Vailankanni, is a Marian shrine located at the small town of Vailankanni in Tamil Nadu, South India where I come from.  It can be traced back to the mid-16th century and attributed to three separate miracles at the sites surrounding the Basilica. 

The apparition of Blessed Mary and the Christ Child to a slumbering shepherd boy, the healing of a handicapped buttermilk vendor, and the rescue of Portuguese sailors from a deadly storm.  These accounts are mere oral lore with no written record or attested sources to support them. The Holy See has not approved the alleged apparition and supernatural phenomena yet the cult of the Lady of Vailankanni persists.

Initially, only a simple and modest chapel was built by the Portuguese sailors who washed ashore safely.  More than 500 years later, the nine-day festival and celebration is still observed and draws nearly 2 million pilgrims each year.  The Shrine of Our Lady of Vailankanni is also known as “the Lourdes of the East” because it is one of the most frequented pilgrimage centers in India.  Today thousands and thousands of people will be gathered there celebrating the birthday of our Blessed Mother.

Celebrating her birthday is a way of celebrating her personhood.  We celebrate her simply for being herself. We do not necessarily focus in on any of the unique, beautiful and profound aspects of her life today, however, we simply celebrate our Blessed Mother because she was created and brought into this world by God and that alone is worth celebrating…

We honor her simply because we love her and we celebrate her birthday as we could celebrate the birthday of anyone we love and care for.

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women and blessed is fruit your womb Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

Blessed Mother, we ask that you wrap all of your St. Gabriel children under your mantle.  Lead all of us closer to your son Jesus Christ. Show us the ways and means to go to your Son.

Happy birthday, Blessed Mother!  We love you dearly!

With lots of love and ever at your service

Fr. Sahayanthan Nathan

 

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