Will you pray with me?

If you aren’t familiar with Our Lady of Good Help, it is a national shrine just outside of Green Bay. It is the only Marian shrine in the United States that is a site of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church officially confirmed the Marian apparitions in 2010. The story of Our Lady of Good Help is a wonderful one, beginning in 1831 in Belgium with the birth of Adele Brise. Adele’s family immigrated to this country and settled in the Green Bay area in the 1850’s. It was here, on her family’s property, that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared three times to Adele and instructed her to teach children the faith.

The story of Our Lady of Good Help is a wonderful one, beginning in 1831 in Belgium with the birth of Adele Brise. Adele’s family immigrated to this country and settled in the Greed Bay area in the 1850’s. It was here, on her family’s property, that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared three times to Adele and instructed her to teach children the faith.

She asked the Holy Mother “But how shall I teach them who know so little myself?” Mary said, “Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the Cross, and how to approach the sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing. I will help you.”

Adele devoted the rest of her life to this mission. The story of her life and the ensuing years is fascinating but unfortunately too long to share fully in this article. But over the years a shrine has developed, and thousands have made the pilgrimage to visit this place and pray.

I am one of those pilgrims. I hope in the coming year to bring a group from our parish to visit the Shrine, learn more about it and pray together. But for now, there is a wonderful opportunity for prayer that I would like to invite you to share.

From February 1st through the 9th the Shrine will be praying a special novena for families called, “Our Lady of Good Help; Queen of Families.” (A novena is a 9day period of private or public prayer for special intentions.) With the approval of the staff at the Shrine I extend this invitation to you. How wonderful it will be to share this prayer together! You can pray it anywhere, anytime, each day of the novena.

So, if you feel called, please pray this prayer for the nine-day period from February 19. As a parish I am inviting us to pray for our families and any special intentions they have. Just mention them in your personal prayer knowing others in our faith community will be praying with you. Our prayer is that the Holy Family will draw us deeper into faith and the love God has for each of us.

Here is the prayer we are invited to pray for the 9 days of the Novena:

God, our loving Father and Creator, you invite families to participate in Your unique plan for salvation by entrusting to us the lives of our children, inscribing your Divine image in their souls. This image or “icon” illuminates our families with your face, transfiguring our homes into domestic churches.

You stand at our thresholds, knocking, waiting for us to throw open our doors and invite You to enter more fully into our family life. Let us not ignore Your repeated knocking, but welcome You, embracing the graces You wish to give. 

May these graces enable us to pass on the gift of our Catholic Faith to our children, giving them what they need for salvation and growth in holiness. It is from the threshold of our domestic church that our families will bring glory to You and hope to the world.

Our Lady of Good Help, Queen of Heaven, implore your Son to strengthen families in order to teach our children what they should know for salvation.

Amen.

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