Christopher Lushis
Freelance Writer
May 16, 2023 // Diocese

Faithful Gather to Honor Blessed Mother and All Mothers at Catholic Cemetery

Christopher Lushis
Freelance Writer

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s first apparition at Fatima, Portugal, occurred on May 13, 1917. On this day, the Mother of God appeared to three shepherd children, imploring them to love the Lord, pray the rosary daily, and trust in the maternal protection of her Immaculate Heart.

In honor of this occasion, a special prayer service was held at Fort Wayne’s Catholic Cemetery on Saturday, May 13, coordinated by Jessica Schuster’s Ecce Choir and Father Daniel Whelan, Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Good Hope Church.

The event, which occurred on the eve of Mother’s Day and was advertised with the title ‘O Beautiful Mother’ wove together Marian themed sacred music and the recitation of the glorious mysteries of the rosary, offered for mothers, living and deceased, and those in various stages of life and maternity.

More photos available by Joe Romie.

For the prayers of the rosary, children from Our Lady of Good Hope and other nearby parishes assembled around Catholic Cemetery’s Rosary Garden. Father Whelan announced the mysteries of the rosary and to each child walked with a microphone, giving each one an opportunity to publicly lead a Hail Mary.

Joe Romie
Father Daniel Whelan, Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Good Hope Parish, blesses the crowd at the conclusion of the ‘O Beautiful Mother’ event held on Saturday, May 13, at Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne to honor our Blessed Mother and all mothers the day before Mother’s Day.

Between the decades, the Ecce choir sang traditional Marian hymns, as well as a new piece written by Father Whelan himself.

Following the rosary, Father Whelan read the Gospel account of the Annunciation and gave a short reflection on the importance of remaining close to Mary. He emphasized going to her for spiritual aid, remaining faithful to reciting the rosary as she requested, and looking to her as the perfect mother — whose only goal is to lead souls into the eternal love of the most Holy Trinity. He expressed, “Mary is the surest and quickest way to Jesus. God chose to come to us through a woman, the new Eve, and therefore He desires us to come to Him through that same woman, to love and honor her, and to faithfully follow the commandments of the Lord as He did in His earthly life. He loves her even now in Heaven, and so should we.”

He continued, “We should enthrone Mary in our hearts. She must be our queen, she must be our mother, she must be our guide, if we truly want to love Jesus as we are called to love Him. The rosary is one of greatest weapons to fight against evil, recalling that Satan hates the name of Mary — as it was this humble woman of Nazareth who brought about the downfall of his kingdom through her faithful ‘yes.’ With the rosary in our hands, we lovingly repeat her name and keep the words of Jesus and Mary frequently on our lips.”

He added, “I imagine Mary, as I pray my rosary, wrapping her mantle around me, holding me close and saying ‘Danny, I’ve got you.’ As we go through life with its difficulties and its valley of tears, we can keep her close to our hearts and trust in her aid to remain faithful. Therefore, we pray, Mary, Mother of God, thank you for your ‘yes’, which you continued to say throughout your life, even at the foot of the cross. Through your intercession, help us to imitate your ‘fiat’ today and tomorrow so that we can also experience the ‘eternal yes’ in Heaven above.”

After this reflection, Father Whelan offered a blessing for the crowning of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Two children who recently received their first Holy Communion were then invited forward to bestow a crown upon her. All those in attendance, some of whom brought flowers of their own, were welcomed to also place flowers before the statue of Mary as Ecce sang the hymn, “Bring Flowers of the Rarest.”

The event concluded with the Litany of Loretto and singing the Salve Regina together.

Jessica Schuster and the Ecce choir joyfully expressed their gratitude for the privilege of honoring the Blessed Mother with a musical tribute and coronation. While it had initially looked as though rain might force the event indoors, just as at Fatima, the sun shone upon those gathered in prayer and provided a beautiful scene for all in attendance.

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