On the Road

The Essence of Holy Hope

Written by: Denise Serafini on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

On Friday March 24th we had the opportunity to present our program at my home church here in Connecticut, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, which is part of the Our Lady of Hope Parish. The event was well attended and our pastor, Father Ruminski, did a wonderful job of supporting us in the readings. In alignment with the name for the parish, I have to say that if nothing else, our relics and associated programs, similar to all of the traditional services and prayer devotions made available to us by the Church, are a sign of hope that God wishes to embed deep within our hearts; the hope of salvation and His eternal love.

Devotion to Our Lady of Hope is one of the oldest Marian devotions. The first shrine bearing that title was erected at Mezieres, France in the year 930. On January 17, 1871, Our Lady of Hope appeared in the French village of Pontmain. There she revealed herself as the "Madonna of the Crucifix" and gave the world her message of "Hope through Prayer and the Cross." The basilica built at Pontmain by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate is one of the great French pilgrimage places, noted for its miracles of grace.

The individuals that attend our events come to engage in prayer for the benefit of the persons and situations tied to their prayer intentions. Our Lady of Hope Parish was the perfect place to present their intentions. God the Father, in His Mercy, cannot help but have pity on the soul that presents his or her supplications in the midst of remembering the suffering of Jesus on the walk to Calvary accompanied by His Mother and honoring the relics of the cruel and inhumane tortures He endured.

It so happened that an individual that has long been suffering from terminal cancer came and asked to be prayed over with the relics. Father Ruminski brought the Relic of the True Cross to her and joined with her in asking Jesus for relief of her sufferings.  This young woman was not Catholic, but she certainly understood that Jesus is our Savior. In her knowing that she will likely be going home to the Father in the near future, she wanted to draw herself as close as possible to Him to be assured of His love for her.

It is the hope of salvation and eternal life in the Lord that brings us to all forms of worship on this earthly plane. We take the time to maintain a relationship with our Creator and seek Him out in our greatest needs to assure that we will return to Him.  We also have have the grace of being able to ask the intercession of Our Lady to lead us to Her Son.

In this year, we commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima. Our Lady appeared in Fatima telling the three young children in Portugal to submit all their needs to her Immaculate Heart which is a mirror of His Most Sacred Heart. In her messages, she assures us that just as Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta did, we too can find the answers to all of our trials and sufferings in this world in prayer, and with the rosary we can even avert world conflict. She gives us hope that we can attain peace in this world and happiness in the next world in union with Her and Her Son.

The novena prayer to Our Lady of Hope begins with “I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth; in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come to me all that desire me and be filled with my fruits."

We prayed for that young woman with cancer in hopes that she might be cured and continue her life here on earth, but we also prayed in the hope that she would be welcomed to her eternal home with Jesus and His Holy Mother should that be His Holy Will. All of our hopes for this young woman are reflected in the final words of the prayer to Our Lady of Hope which reads, “above all I pray, O dearest Mother, that through your most powerful intercession, my heart may be filled with Holy Hope, so that in life's darkest hour I may never fail to trust in God my Savior, but by walking in the way of His commandments I may merit to be united with Him, and with you in the eternal joys of Heaven."

May all our hearts be infused with the grace of Holy Hope as a fruit of our prayers and commemoration of Christ's suffering on the Cross.