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Mary Help of Christians



Mary, Help of Christians, is the patroness of Australia.

Feastday May 24


MARY brings us help especially in our spiritual needs.

She is a most merciful Mother who rejects no sinner,

no matter how far he may have strayed.

She lovingly assists on his behalf

and tries to reconcile him to her Son.

She assists us in temptations.

She is continually crushing the serpent's head by breaking Satan's plans
to capture souls by sin.

God Himself has said:
"I will put enmities between thee and the woman—she shall crush thy head"
(Gen. 3,15).

Instead of capturing others, Satan is himself made a captive by Mary;
like a chained slave he must obey her commands.

She confirms us in good and obtains for us the grace of making progress
in the path of virtue, for she desires nothing more ardently
than that we all become partakers of the fruits of redemption,
won for us by her Son. In our efforts to reach holiness,
she supports us and obtains for us the grace of perseverance.

We can ask nothing of her that will give her greater pleasure
or that she will grant more willingly than the grace to do good.

Above all, Mary assists us in the hour of death,

which is the most important moment in our life

because upon that moment our eternity depends.

As the exalted Queen of heaven she takes the souls of her faithful servants under her protecting mantle, accompanies them to the judgment seat of her Son, and there she becomes their intercessor.


Mary, Help of Christians, I know you do all in your power to save my soul.
May I also do my part and allow you to save me.
If I fall into sin, obtain for me the grace of repentance.
If I am tempted, give me help to fight with determination against the temptation
that I may overcome it. Be with me especially in the hour of my death,
when the devil will put forth every effort to win my soul.



MARY is the Protectress of the Universal Catholic Church

Through her intercession calamities have been averted from Christendom,
fierce persecutions have ceased to rage,
and enemies have been humbled to the dust.

Many feasts are expressions of gratitude toward her
for the frequent and wonderful deliverance of Christian nations
from the invasions of enemies, from schisms and wars, and from other sufferings.

O Mary, Help of Christians,

show yourself the Protectress of the Catholic Church

and destroy the wicked designs of her enemies, especially in these times of persecution.




Almighty and merciful God, Who in the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary
provided never-ending assistance for the defense of the Christian people
grant, we beg of You, that, strengthened by such help, we may do battle during life and be able to obtain victory over the treacherous foe in death.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



About the Feast Day

The invocation of Mary as Help of Christians

is part of the oldest prayer addressed directly to Mary,

the "Sub tuum praesidium,"

which was found on a papyrus dating, at the latest,

from the end of the third century.

This prayer was composed at a time of great danger for Christians
and for the Church.

"Praesidium" is translated as "an assistance given in time of war
by fresh troops in a strong manner."

Yet, Mary help of all Christians is not only helpful to those engaged in new wars,
She is the bearer of joy, helping to prepare all Christians of good will
to receive God's grace and the many gifts of sanctified life.

The feast of Mary, Help of Christians is associated
with numerous great events in the history of the Church.

The first of these is the great sea battle of Lepanto in 1571, in which Europe was saved from the threat of Islamic invaders.

Pope Saint Pius V gave Mary the title:

"Help of Christians,"

after the victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks

on October 7, 1571,

and he added this invocation to her litany.

In 1683, John Sobieski’s Polish troops held out at Vienna against the larger Ottoman army with the Marian prayer, Help of Christians, as their battle cry.

The feast itself was first proclaimed on 24th May in 1815,
on the first anniversary of Pope Pius VII when he returned to Rome from exile
after being abducted by Napoleon.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, devotion to Mary, Help of Christians
spread quickly in response to the perceived threat to the papacy
of the Italian republican movement.

While military victory and support of the papacy
are the dominant images surrounding this feast, they are not the only ones.

The title Mary – Helper has its origin at some time in the middle ages
and is found in Marian prayers well before 1571 (Lepanto).

Mary's intercession at the Wedding feast at Cana,
Mary at the foot of the cross being presented
as the mother of the Church are also powerful illustrations
that Christ gave His Mother to be a help to all Christians.



MARY, we invoke you as the Help of Christians

because you afford help to Christians even in all temporal needs.

If, without being asked, you do so much, what will you do if we invoke your aid?

Though you are now enthroned in heaven,
you still take an interest in our misery and relieve our wants.

You are still the Mother of God in heaven as you were on earth;
Jesus, Who is Omnipotence Itself, remains your Son for all eternity.

Your love for us is now even more intense and more compassionate,
because you know our misery better in heaven than you did in this mortal life.

You obtain sweet rest for all who are laden with trouble and pain;
you give comfort to the afflicted and healing to the sick.

Help of Christians, give me an unbounded confidence in you.

You can help me, for your prayer is all-powerful with God,
and you will help me, for you are my Mother and you love me as your child.

Let me pray to you with a pure and penitent heart, for I cannot expect help from you if I continue to offend your dear Son and even crucify Him again by my sins.

I wish to beg your help with perseverance,
even though for some time I may receive no help.

I know you will grant my petition at the right time.

Teach me to pray with resignation to the will of God,
Who knows what is best for me.

Obtain for me at least the grace of bearing my cross with patience.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.