Saturday, October 13, 2018

Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary


We have a couple of “firsts” to deal with here. Saint James the Greater was the first Apostle of Jesus Christ to have been martyred. Also, the church that James and his disciples built around pillar and the wooden statue was the first Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Further, the vision of the Blessed Virgin was the first Marian Apparition in history.

The apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar is also unique in another way. The Virgin Mary was still alive and living in either Ephesus or Jerusalem when the apparition happened. Because of this, it’s apparent that Mary showed an ability that many Christian saints have exhibited over the ages … She was able to bilocate. Yup, She was in two places at the same time.

The apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar has been accepted as sacred tradition since the dawn of Christianity.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Our Lady of the Pillar


Today, October 12, is the celebration of Our Lady of the Pillar. For those who have never heard this title of Mary, it's what it sounds like - it is a shrine in Zaragoza, Spain, with...well...Mary atop a Pillar.

As the apostle James was in Spain preaching the Gospel and things weren't going well. Mary appeared to him (on top of a pillar) to encourage him in his endeavors. Of course, Spain was eventually converted and the Spaniards continue to honor St. James. Mary was still alive when she appeared to James. Mary, as Our Lady of the Pillar, is venerated in Spain and many parts of Latin America.

For us Marianists, this is a big day, too. On October 11, 1797 (the day before the feast), Marianist Founder Blessed William Joseph Chaminade arrived in Zaragoza. He had just been exiled from his native France because of the ongoing persecutions of the French Revolution. He would spend the next three years in Zaragoza, spending a great deal of time praying before the Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. And during those three years, something happened. Fr. Chaminade wrote practically nothing about his time in Spain, and only mentioned it in passing. However, he received some sort of inspiration or mission before Our Lady of the Pillar 
The Basilica
to return to France and "re-Christianize" the country devastated by the Revolution.

It was in Zaragoza that Fr. Chaminade began to develop a plan of bringing all types of people together into Sodalities as a means of evangelization. Of course, this led to the foundation of Marianist Lay Communities, The Daughters of Mary Immaculate (Marianist Sisters) and the Society of Mary (Marianist Brothers and Priests.)


Our Lady of the Pillar

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Santiago de Compostela


The Spanish legend tells us that on January 2, 40 AD, Saint James was near the newly-built Roman town of Caesaraugusta in the Roman province of Hispania. James was disheartened by the apparent failure of his evangelizing mission, so he stopped to pray on the bank of the Ebro River. While James and his few disciples were deep in prayer, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to them.

In the apparition, Mary stood on top of a marble pillar and she was accompanied by several angels. Mary assured James that he would soon have many converts to Christianity and that their faith would be as strong as the pillar upon which She was standing.

Further, Mary gave both the pillar and a small wooden statue of herself to James. Then, she instructed James to build a church on the spot where she appeared. Mary’s words were “This place is to be my house and this image and column shall be the title and altar of the temple that you shall build.”

Local tradition tells us that it took James and his disciples about one year to build the first simple chapel over the pillar and the wooden statue. James happened upon a “planned community” that was established for retired Roman Army soldiers and their dependents. Soon, the chapel was filled to overflowing at every Holy Mass.

James the Greater left for Jerusalem at some time during the year 41 AD and he was beheaded by Herod Agrippa in 44 AD. His body was returned to the area of what would one day be known as Santiago de Compostela in North-Central Spain.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar

Image result for our lady of the pillar

The Apparition of Our Lady of the Pillar was approved as a miracle by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on August 7, 1723.


"According to ancient and pious tradition, St. James the Greater, led by Providence into Spain, spent some time at Saragossa. He there received a signal favor from the Blessed Virgin. As he was praying with his disciples one night, upon the banks of the Ebro, as the same tradition informs us, the Mother of God, who still lived, appeared to him, and commanded him to erect an oratory in that place. The apostle delayed not to obey this injunction, and with the assistance of his disciples soon constructed a small chapel.”

The original chapel was eventually destroyed, but the pillar and the statue remained intact. Constantine ordered a Romanesque cathedral to be built over the site in the 4th century.
The most recent church, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, is Baroque in style and construction work on it began in 1681. The original building was finished in 1711, but there were additions as late as 1872.

Catholics who have prayed before the Altar of Our Lady of the Pillar include Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Ávila, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade and Saint John Paul II.