May 8 is on Our Lady of Pompeii. The first few paragraphs introduces us to Bartolo Longo. We read about how he restored the dilapidated church in October 1873. In 1875 he obtained a well worn painting of Our Lady of the Rosary and had it restored. There is then a paragraph about a young visionary and we then learn that a sanctuary was built and consecrated in 1891. Many miracles are attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Pompeii.
May 13 is on Our Lady of Fatima. The first paragraphs are about the apparition to the three children. There are several paragraphs on the miracle of the sun. There are then brief mentions of the death of two children, the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, the beatification of the two children and the release of the third part of the secret. The author wisely steers clear of the controversies surrounding the third secret and the consecration of Russia.
September 19 is on Our Lady of La Salette. The first few paragraphs are on the apparition to the children. The words of Our Lady are given at great length. The section ends with its approval and a Memorare to Our Lady of La Salette. Once again, the author has wisely made no mention of the subsequent behaviour of Melanie and the controversies surrounding the secret.
September 25 is on Our Lady of Walsingham. Mention is first made of Richeldis de Faverches and her visions of Our Lady. It is then noted that by the Middle Ages, Walsingham had become one of the greatest pilgrimage sites in all of Europe. Its destruction at the time of the Protestant Reformation is then mentioned followed by its restoration. The section ends with a delightful prayer to Our Lady of Walsingham.
I was a little surprised to see a section on Our Lady of Medjugorje. It would surely have been better to await the final decision of the Church, a decision that surely needs to await the ending of the alleged apparition? That aside, this book is to be commended for its promotion of devotion to Our Lady.
EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR is a day for the Lord, but also for His Blessed Mother, Mary. Daily, Daily Sing to Mary lies in the tradition of the Marian Calendar, a collection of feasts honouring the Blessed Virgin Mary.¹ Each day brings to mind the actions the Mother of God has undertaken on behalf of Christians of all nations and kingdoms throughout the ages. The story for each day of the year also brings its own lesson for us.
The original Marian Calendar was first published when King Louis XIV of France was still a boy, and it is in reality a collection of famous sites of pilgrimage to the Blessed Virgin throughout all of Christendom. It is unnecessary to remind the reader that things have changed a great deal since the time the Marian Calendar was first published. At that time Christendom was still flourishing, and there were a great many religious buildings consecrated to the Mother of God. Owing to various upheavals and revolutions, some of these sites are now nothing more than a pile of ruins.
In our time there are very few people who even remember the Marian Calendar, and those who do usually have nothing more than a list of devotions, with no explanation of the actual historical event they attempt to recall. This work is offered to the Christian world for the hundredth anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, where Pope Francis exclaimed: “We have a Mother! Clinging to her like children, we live in the hope that rests on Jesus.”² The daily accounts in this book provide abundant proof that Mary, the Mother of God, has indeed claimed the hearts of Christians from the earliest centuries down to the present day. They are also evidence of the value of the Blessed Mother’s influence and mediation on the behalf of her children before the throne of God.
In these pages, for each day of the year, we have endeavoured to list a particular liturgical celebration, miracle, apparition, conversion, or healing which took place on that day through the maternal hands of Our Lady. On occasions we also recall events in which Our Lady saved people from all kinds of danger, at sea or on land. We have also documented simple events, like the finding of a Marian image which may not seem in themselves to be miraculous, but point to a deep care which the Mother of God has for her Son’s people. We have taken episodes from all parts of the world in a truly Catholic way, showing that Our Lady has influ- enced so many people’s lives and often in non-Catholic and even non-Christian lands. It may well be as these events are so numer- ous that we will have left out some important manifestation of Our Lady. This has not been done deliberately, but there are only 365 days in the year and so we ask pardon of any of our readers if their favourite devotion has been omitted.
Among the marvels which the Lord has worked through His Mother as recorded in the pages, some have been been approved by the highest Church authorities, others by local bishops, others again are awaiting reception and recognition. Some may be of ambiguous status, but as far as possible we have tried to keep to those apparitions, revelations and miracles which would in no way counter Scripture and Tradition as interpreted by the living Magisterium of the Church.
We have tried to adhere as close as possible to the actual date of the celebrations, but sometimes this has not been possible owing to the simultaneous celebration of various festivals in different places on the one date. We have separated the celebra- tions so as to offer the reader a Marian feast every day of the year. In this way not only are peoples consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but also time, in the sense that the whole year is now dedicated to her honour and therefore to her Son. Each day, each month, each season will become a hymn of praise to Our Lady in the spirit in which St Cyril of Alexandria preached these words about the Mother of God:
Hail, O Mary, Mother of God, Virgin and Mother! Morning Star, perfect vessel. We salute you, Mother of God. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! holy temple in which God Himself was conceived. We salute you, Mother of God. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! chaste and pure dove. We salute you, Mother of God. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! ever-effulgent light; from you proceeds the Sun of Justice. We salute you, Mother of God. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God ! You enclosed in your sacred womb the One Who cannot be encompassed. We salute you, Mother of God. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! With the shepherds we sing the praise of God, and with the angels the song of thanksgiving: Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to people of good will. We salute you, Mother of God. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! Through you came to us the Conqueror and the triumphant Vanquisher of hell. We salute you, Mother of God. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! Through you blossoms the splendour of the resurrection. We salute you, Mother of God. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! You saved every faithful Christian. Hail, O Mary, Mother of God! Who can praise you worthily, O glorious Virgin Mary! We salute you, Mother of God.³
² Pope Francis, Homily at Mass for Canonization of Francesco Marto e Giacinta Marto (13 May 2017).
³ St Cyril of Alexandria, Sermon at the Council of Ephesus (431).
Preface Copyright © Paul Haffner 2017