Totus Tuus - To Jesus through Mary.

To impel the beauty of the new evangelization – this is the charism of the Heralds of the Gospel; Its founder, Monsignor João Dias explains."The Heralds of the Gospel is a private association of faithful with a very special charism based essentially on three points: the Eucharist, Mary and the Pope."

The Heralds of the Gospel are an International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right, the first to be established by the Holy See in the third millennium, during a ceremony which occurred during the feast of the Chair of St. Peter (February 22) in 2001.

The Heralds of the Gospel strive to be instruments of holiness in the Church by encouraging close unity between faith and life, and working to evangelize particularly through art and culture. Their apostolate, which differs depending upon the environments in which they work, gives pride of place to parish animation, evangelizing families, providing catechetical and cultural formation to young people, and disseminating religious Iiterature.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Weeping Irish Madonna of Hungary...

March 17th is St Patrick’s Day, a date enthusiastically enjoyed by Irish communities throughout the world. While it may often appear to be simply a secular holiday, it is in fact the Church’s Feast Day in honour of St Patrick who brought the Catholic Faith to Ireland. Why is that feast day also celebrated with solemnity in the Hungarian diocese of Gyor?

It might be hard to think of a connection between Ireland and Hungary, but both are nations who loved their Catholic Faith and who suffered greatly for it as a result. The beautiful story of the weeping Irish Madonna of Hungary is not well known, but it is a touching reminder of Our Lady’s care and protection for those who love her Son.

During the Reformation, times of persecution in Ireland, many Irish Catholic clergy and nobility were scattered throughout the continent of Europe. So many had to flee their country during this period that there were eventually over 30 colleges for the training of Irish clergy and religious across Europe - from Portugal in the West to Poland in the East.

When Oliver Cromwell and his troops invaded Ireland in 1649, William Lynch the Catholic Bishop of the diocese of Clonfert was arrested, along with some of his priests. Eventually the bishop and some of his group managed to escape, taking with them the picture of the Irish Madonna, to which they were devoted. Once they reached Europe, the group dispersed and the bishop travelled as far as Hungary where he was warmly welcomed by the Bishop of Gyor, who appointed him as his auxiliary.

The good bishop settled permanently in Hungary and laboured tirelessly there for 10 years until his death. In his will he left an image of the Madonna which he brought from his own Cathedral to that of Gyor. The people there had great devotion to the Mother of God, and gave the portrait, which arrived at the time of a series of victories over the Turks, a joyous welcome. They knew that it had come from a Catholic country which was suffering for the faith, and they felt that God had placed this treasured relic in their custody. During the years to come many came to pray before the Madonna, and it was felt that many national disasters had been averted through her intercession.

Then On March 17, 1697, Saint Patrick's Day, as thousands were praying during early morning Mass in the Cathedral of Gyor, priests and faithful suddenly saw that the eyes of the Madonna on the picture were shedding tears and blood, which dropped down upon the image of the Child Jesus below her. This miracle lasted more than three hours. The face of the Madonna was wiped with linen (this linen is still preserved in the Cathedral of Gyor), but the blood and tears continued to flow. Although the picture was immediately taken from the wall and removed from its frame, the phenomenon continued. News of the marvel immediately spread to the far corners of the city and many people of every denomination and faith, flocked to see it. It was witnessed by thousands, and many of them gave testimony of what they saw. A document signed by more than a hundred people carries the signature of the imperial governor of the city, the mayor, all the councilmen, the Bishop, some priests, Calvinist and Lutheran ministers and a Jewish rabbi--all of whom, volunteered to give their testimony.

The miracle of Our Lady weeping blood and tears for her persecuted children in Ireland greatly moved the Hungarian people - people who had themselves suffered greatly for their Catholic faith.

Now in these times of great difficulties for the world, let us ask St Patrick - especially on his feast day - to pray for Ireland, and for Hungary, and indeed for the whole world. May Our Lady of Ireland intercede for us!

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