Serving Our Lady of Purgatory and St. Anthony of the Desert Parishes

By Natalie Salameh
The Maronite Servants of Christ the Light hosted the MYO and MFF meetings for the teens and children of Our Lady of Purgatory Parish, New Bedford on Friday and Saturday, October 24th and 25th, 2014, and for the children of St. Anthony of the Desert Parish, Fall River on Sunday, October 26th.  The theme of the weekend’s catechesis was the centrality of Our Blessed Mother in our Maronite Tradition and the rosary.

In his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Pope St. John Paul II states:
Many signs indicate that still today the Blessed Virgin desires to exercise through the prayer of the rosary that maternal concern to which the dying Redeemer entrusted, in the person of the beloved disciple, all the sons and daughters of the Church: “Woman, behold your son!” (Jn19:26). Well-known are the occasions in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries on which the Mother of Christ made her presence felt and her voice heard….”

One such occasion that we discussed with the teens and children was the apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. So central is the rosary to the Fatima message that Our Lady chose to identify herself as "The Lady of the Rosary." In each of the six apparitions she asked for the daily rosary, especially as an instrument of world peace. The Blessed Mother concluded the final apparition by showing the children three separate tableaux symbolizing the entire message of the Rosary. The first was a vision of the Holy family - representing the joyful mysteries; the second a vision of Our Lady of Sorrows - representing the sorrowful mysteries; and the third a vision of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel - representing the glorious mysteries.

The teens and children were shown by the sisters how to pray the rosary, and were then able to make their own rosaries, which they were encouraged to pray daily with their families.