Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Church attributes three glorifying honors to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first is the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This feast was a gradual development from the 12th century until Pope Pius IX in his Papal Bull, Ineffabilis Deus, promulgated it to be celebrated by the universal Church on December 8th, 1854.

The second is Mary, Mother of God. This feast was also developed from the Council of Ephesus in AD 431. In 1931, Pop Pius XI mandated its universal celebration.

Finally, we have the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, which we celebrate today. Pope Pius XII promulgated this dogma in 1950 that Mary was born without the stain of original sin, was taken, body, and soul into heaven to receive the fullness of redemption that the son she bore in her womb won for all humanity.

My Soul proclaims the Greatness of the Lord

The book of Revelation, which dates back to the Church’s beginnings, was written during the Roman reign of Domitian, a violent persecutor of Christians. The literary genre of apocalyptic lierature was well known in times of crisis; it gave the people cause for hope in the midst of despair. With symbolic numbers, colors, clothing, and metals writers conveyed the promise that God would be the ultimate victor in whatever war was being waged against them.

Today’s reading has the Queen of Heaven suffering the pains of childbirth for the sake of delivering the Messiah. She faces the mythological dragon, used in ancient books to represent the oppressor. The focus of today’s Gospel is on Mary – the Mother of the Lord. Mary herself recognizes this and signs a canticle of praise.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me.

The Canticle has been the CHurch’s prayer, in the Liturgy of the Hours, for “all generations”. It stands as a reminder of perfect faithfulness to those who would be faithful.

Mary’s yes was complete – never partial and never conditional. I said Yes to serve as the Creator’s servant in my capacity as a knight, a teacher, engineer, lector, and husband despite all the many talents and qualities I could have developed. At baptism, we said Yes to God. But if our Yes were to have any meaning at all, it would mean that we do not worship or serve God in the same manner as our car dealers rejoice when they make a profit from sales. Our Yes should never be about becoming known, popular, or famous in the CHurch or in the Fraternity; because fame created by us dies with us.

Saint Paul tells us, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” In other words, what was done for christ will be done for all of us. When He comes again we will be raised to heaven with Him.

Mary’s Assumption into heaven, then, theologically points to what we believe God will do for all of us. The Assumption shows that what awaits us is not ghostly immortality. There is much more to come in the supernatural. We will be like the Risen Christ forever.

May Mary our Mother of Peace be with you and Happy Feast Day!

Rev. Osei, C.S.Sp.

Feast of the Assumption, Our Lady of Victory, and Venerable Nelson Baker

Knights of St. John

Today under the leadership and guidance of Colonel Jerry Grasso, Commander of the Third Battalion, and member of Commandery 408 from the Buffalo Grand celebrated the Feast of the Assumption at Our Lady of Victory Basilica and National Shrine with the 15th Bishop of Buffalo, Bishop Mike Fisher. Men from commandery 135, 382, and 204 joined in the celebration.

The Feast of the Assumption is a great reason to gather together as Catholic men to honor Our Lady. This year it also is a very special day for the Basilica, and its founder, the Venerable Father Nelson Baker. 100 Years ago, the 5th Bishop of Buffalo, Bishop Turner, blessed and laid the cornerstone for the Basilica. Father Baker worked diligently to finish the majestic edifice in five years, accumulating zero debt in the process! Venerable Nelson Baker’s cause for canonization is currently in Rome, and we pray and wait patiently for his canonization.

Father Baker is a local hero for the Buffalo Grand, he was a charter member of the Noble Degree in Buffalo in 1924. On display at the foot of his bed in the museum at the Basilica is a sir Knights Sword, honoring his membership in our order. Please join us in praying for his canonization.

Men of the Buffalo Grand will turnout tomorrow for the Father Baker Day Mass, commemorating the 85th anniversary of the priest’s death.