Knights of Columbus Marian Prayer Program
Every couple of years, the Knights of Columbus introduces a new Marian Prayer Program. The new Marian image then makes a pilgrimage through each state or jurisdiction, with councils hosting a prayer service at their parish or other venues. The 2018-2019 Marian Prayer Program presents the 18th Marian image sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, this time of Our Lady Help of Persecuted Christians. Since its inception in 1979, the Knights of Columbus’ Marian Prayer Program has held more than 166,900 local council and parish prayer services with some 20 million participants. This year, the prayer service is intended to raise awareness of the plight of Christians persecuted for their faith and to stand in prayerful solidarity with them.
Tom Kalisz, State Deputy for the Knights of Columbus in Arizona will provide one of images he has been given for this program to the Arizona Rosary Celebration. The image will be on display in both Tucson and Phoenix during the Rosary celebrations in October. Please join the Knights of Columbus in Praying for the redemption of our persecuted brothers and sisters anywhere in the world.
Since 1979 the Knights of Columbus have sponsored Marian Hour of Prayer programs using a rosary centered prayer service and focusing on the Virgin Icons depicting Mary under her various titles. These icons travel around the state from council to council, Assembly to Assembly, District to District.
In the coming year the Knights of Columbus will again sponsor a Marian Hour of Prayer. The Holy Father continues to ask Mary's intercession in the Church's missionary and evangelizing efforts and implores her to be a helpmate for families and young people.
In the mountains outside Santiago in Cuba is an old pilgrimage church, “Nuestra Senora de la Caridad,” which means, “Our Lady of Charity,” also known as “Our Lady of Cobre.” It is the national shrine of Cuba.
Early in the 17th century, three sailors left the Bay of Nipe to collect salt. Their vessel was small, so that when a storm arose they were drifting and rocked violently on the roaring ocean. One of the men wore a medal stamped with an image of the Blessed Virgin, and the three began to pray for her protection. The storm suddenly cleared, and the men saw something they could not immediately identify coming toward across the water.
We still have the testimony of one of the men, Juan Moreno, regarding this incident. It was taken in 1687:
“Having camped in the French Key, which is in the middle of the Bay of Nipe, waiting for a good time to leave for the salt mines, being a morning of calm seas, they left the French Keys, before daybreak. The aforementioned Juan y Rodrigo de Hoyos and myself embarked in a canoe, headed for the salt mines, and far from the French Key we saw something white above the foam of the water, which we couldn’t distinguish. As we got closer, birds and dry branches appeared. The aforementioned Indians said, “It looks like a girl.” While they were discussing this among themselves, they saw an image of Our Lady, the Holy Virgin, on top of a small wooden plank, holding the baby Jesus in her arms. On this small tablet, was written in large letters, which read, “I am the Virgin of Charity.” Looking at her clothes, they realized that they were not wet.”
Upon returning home, the men revealed what they had discovered and told the story of what had happened to them. A government official, Don Francisco Sanchez de Moya, had a small chapel built in her honor.
The Village of Cobre, where the shrine is, is surrounded by high hills that roll back to the Sierra Maestra Mountains. The village is named Cobre because of the rich deposit of copper. A lamp of copper is kept burning before the statue of Our Lady. Twice the statue mysteriously disappeared from the locked church, and then returned just as unaccountably. In each case Our Lady indicated where richer deposits of copper could be found.
In 1936 after the completion of a beautiful church in honor of Our Lady of Charity, the statue was solemnly crowned amid great rejoicing and religious festivity.
The shrine has much of old-time charm, and literally hundreds of lights burn before the shrine’s statue. Our Lady is dressed richly in silken garments; she is dark like a Cuban girl with a sun-tanned Infant on her arm, smiling down on her brown Cuban children, who come to her in great numbers and with great confidence. The prayers of centuries seem to hang down from the walls in heavy folds. It is a place where prayer comes easily, and its answer seems to be a matter of course.
A Higher Purpose
Help strengthen families and revitalize our parishes. Knights of Columbus councils will invite each family in their parish to consecrate themselves to the Holy Family and to devote themselves to the ideal model of familial love set by Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
To help families live out the joy of Christ, Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori has composed a prayer through which families will come together to consecrate themselves under the protection of the Holy Family. In this prayer, we ask for the aid or intercession of the perfect son Jesus Christ, Mary the perfect mother, and Joseph who is a model for every father. Councils will guide their parishes and community to understand and offer this important and impactful prayer. Preparing for the Consecration to the Holy Family is not a single event. It is choosing a way of life for your family. Through this consecration, each participant is consciously choosing to be a beacon of God’s love through his Church.
The Immaculate Conception is the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary free from original sin by virtue of the merits of her son Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church teaches that God acted upon Mary in the first moment of her conception keeping her "immaculate".
The Immaculate Conception is commonly confused with the Virgin Birth of Jesus. Jesus' birth is covered by the Doctrine of Incarnation, while the Immaculate Conception deals with the conception of Mary, not that of her son.
Although the belief that Mary was sinless, or conceived without original sin, has been widely held since Late Antiquity, the doctrine was not dogmatically defined until 1854, by Pope Pius IX in his papal bull Ineffabilis Deus. The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8; in many Catholic countries, it is a holy day of obligation or patronal feast, and in some a national public holiday.