"Do whatever He tells you!"(Jn 2:5) Feast of Mary, Help of Christians - 24 May
Mary, Help of Christians, she is mother and virgin, the perfect model for all women and also for men. She is the Patroness of Australia, under the title "Help of Christians" and the patron of the Archdiocese of Sydney whose Cathedral is called St Mary's. Under the title of 'Our Lady of the Southern Cross' she is patron of the Australian Diocese of Toowoomba and of WYD08.
It is Our Lady of the Southern Cross to whom WYD08 pilgrims are encouraged to consecrate themselves in the spirit of the motto of Pope John Paul II "Totus Tuus", I am all yours, as you make your pilgrimage to the Cathedral during the WYD08 week.
The title of 'Southern Cross' derives from the constellation of stars seen only from the southern hemisphere. Mary is the Help of Christians as she leads all people to her Son. She is our help and our advocate.
Archbishop Francis P. Carroll, then President of Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said in 2001:
"We have total confidence that Mary the Mother of Jesus will be with us to pray for us and to lead us to her Son. Overshadowed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Mary conceived and gave birth to Jesus, nurtured him as a child, sought him when lost, elicited his first miracle and stood to the end by his Cross of shame and suffering. She was with the Apostles and Disciples when the Holy Spirit came with Pentecostal power to give birth to the Church.
As she accompanied her Son in all of the significant events of his life, who could doubt that she accompanies the Church as it continues to live and grow as the Body of Christ. Not only does Mary accompany and support the Church as the first disciple of her Son, but she is also its Mother.
We must be a holy people united in love. Pope John Paul reminds us that the Church's structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members and holiness is measured according to the great mystery in which the bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the bridegroom. Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery. She goes before, as "a model of the Church in the matter of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ". The Holy Father writes: "She (Mary of Nazareth) precedes everyone on the path of holiness; in her person the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists 'without spot or wrinkle'. In this sense one can say that the Church is both Marian and Apostolic-Petrine".
God first entered the world through Mary, who is 'full of grace' (Luke 1:28), when Jesus was born, and Jesus performed his first public miracle at her prodding. She was centrally present when the Spirit was poured out upon the nascent Church at Pentecost, fulfilling the promise 'you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses' (Acts 1:8). She teaches us how to allow God to be poured out upon the world through us, to 'magnify' Him (c.f. Luke 1:46-55), so that He can be seen, known, loved and worshipped. WYD08 pilgrims can consecrate themselves to her with John Paul II's words 'all yours', so that God may more freely transform each one of us and the world with his saving power.
Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians - pray for us