Pray for America during Mary’s month

heather    With October’s arrival, we should remember that October is reserved as the month of Mary. This year, in particular, we should do all that we can to preserve October as not only the “respect life” month but also use this month as a devotion to Mary, praying for her intercession for our country.
    November elections are rapidly approaching, as the television and radio ads frequently tell us. Everyone, it seems, has become political and is waging political war in an attempt to sway votes. Now, more than ever, our country needs Mary’s intercession.
    Our religious freedom has come under attack countless times within the past four years, from the ongoing political debates over the definition of marriage to the definition of when life begins. Our government seems to seek definitive definitions and ask questions about ideas that are not only integral to our faith but ideas that are already clearly defined by nature: marriage between a man and woman, and life beginning at conception.
    Why are such definitions being questioned?
    I think it’s very rare to have a homily given at Mass that touches on the intense scrutiny of our government and the political sway that has seemed to touch every aspect of our society. A few Sundays ago, however, I was pleased to hear such a homily that pressed upon the necessity of fighting for our religious freedom and standing up for our faith.
    Pointing to the political candidate’s platforms and explanations of their stance on the issues that seem to most concern American citizens, retired Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Hermann of the Archdiocese of St. Louis called attention not only to the issues and how they contrasted with the teachings of the Church but also explained why the church holds those positions.
    He discussed the hypocritical idea that everyone has the right to freedom, it seems, except members of the Catholic Church. He educated everyone at Mass about the church’s teachings and provided resources for them to turn to when they experience doubt. Of course, the homily met with certain resistance, as many people left Mass. Jesus tells us that these things happen in his parable of the sower: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15).
    It’s easy to become discouraged and disenchanted with our society when we see people throwing away morals and values that we, as Catholics, hold dear. But we must not lose hope, for we have the power of the rosary.
    Jesus battled with the Pharisees and with those who disregarded his teachings, and the disciples underwent persecution for their beliefs. So goes the way of society. We will always be fighting an uphill battle. But we must believe in the power of prayer, devoting ourselves to praying the rosary for our country.
    We are told that when St. Dominic was distressed with the Albigensian heresy plaguing southern France in the 12th and 13th centuries, he turned to Mary for help in successfully combating the heresy. In response, Mary appeared to him and told him to pray what we know as the rosary, in conjunction with his teaching, to combat the heresy of his day.
    In our own city, the Ursulines have prayed through the intercession of Mary for the city of New Orleans to be spared from fire in 1812 and from the British invasion in 1815 during the Battle of New Orleans.
    During this October, we can devote ourselves to prayer, asking for the Blessed Mother to intercede for our country’s sake, to re-establish basic human dignity and Christian values within our nation.
    Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at

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