This reflection is part of the Spirituality of the Catechist Online Retreat.
The parish of Notre Dame in New Hyde Park, New York has a diverse Catholic community united in their strong devotion to the Virgin Mary. The original Italian community has organized two prayer groups devoted to Our Lady; the largest devotional group here is dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace. Our Lady of Guadalupe is certainly the most prominent cultural experience for the emerging Hispanic community, and the growing Indian community has a deep devotion to Our Lady of Velankanni.
As the Director of Social Ministry for this parish, I have discovered that these Marian devotions can serve as a focal point for my ministry. Mary expresses God’s vision of justice in the Magnficat (Luke 1:46–55):
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty. (Luke 1:52–55)
Mary declares God to be the God of Mercy, the God of Justice, and the God of Hope. We hear her motherly love and concern for those in the human community who are struggling. The Magnificat expresses God’s solidarity with those who live on the margins of society.
For the Italian, Hispanic, and Indian communities at Notre Dame Parish, devotion to Mary is not just a personal or private devotion; rather their devotion encourages them to consistently live with the Spirit of the living God. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary leads us to take up the social challenges of the day, to ensure that all people have what they need to live in dignity. The Blessed Virgin Mary taught Jesus, journeyed with him in his earthly ministry, suffered with him in his Passion and Death, and intercedes for us as Queen of Heaven. I can think of no better way to remain committed to Catholic social teaching than through devotion to Our Lady.
This reflection was inspired by our retreat theme this week: Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Read Joe Paprocki’s post introducing the theme and reflect with questions and spiritual exercises.