Our church Deacon went on a trip with a group from the parish to Fatima. He came back with a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that was supposedly blessed by a bishop over there. The statue is now being given to families to bring home for a week to pray the rosary around it.
I can’t seem to put my finger on it, but something about this doesn’t feel right.
It’s called a “Visitation from Mary,” and the idea is to help people become re-energized in their Catholic faith. At our parish what happens is that the family receives a blessing from the priest and the statue to take home with them for a week.
Members of the Legion of Mary go over to their house and pray with them, including the Rosary, the Tessera, and other traditional Catholic prayers. There is also a time of social discussion, finding out about the family, and what kind of support they might need from the parish, and during the week, the family becomes kind of a focal point for the parish priest and other staff members, to meet their spiritual and material needs, and if there is any kind of long-term need, to get them pointed toward the right kind of long term help. The family also prays the Rosary together every day during that week, for the intention of becoming more like the Holy Family, in overcoming any problems they are having, and making themselves a model Christian family.
At the end of the week, the members of the Legion of Mary go back to the house, pray with the family again, and bring the statue back to the Church to give to the next family that wants to have it.
I think it’s a really great program, because it’s a very friendly way to do re-evangelization; it’s all about helping the family, and there’s no sort of, “Oh, you’re such a sinner, you need to pray,” but rather, “Hey, here’s an opportunity to become more like Jesus and Mary, and more in tune with your Catholic faith,” without it seeming like some kind of judgemental thing.
I had the same feeling once upon a time when my sister opened her home to a group of people that promoted devotion to Mary with a “traveling statue” approach.
It bothered me that special significance was placed upon the particular statue representing the Blessed Virgin. It is Mary as the mother of Jesus that is important. Her relationship with Jesus is what makes her such a powerful intercessor on our behalf. The statue/representation is merely a reminder to bring attention to Mary and to point us to her son.
When people begin to beyond this I do get a little twitchy. Perhaps, a question or two directed to the deacon and his views and language in presentation might clear the air of difficulties.
As others have pointed out, the problem is not the presence of the statue, rather it was the presence of a particular statue. The idea that arrival of the statue in the home is somehow special is, I think slipping into dangerous territory,
At my old church we use to do this with the holy family statue. At the church we attend now we do it a chalice for a reminder to pray for vocations. I think that is a good idea for sometimes people cannot afford to have a statue of these size in their home. Or it is simply a reminder to prayer for some one or something. There is nothing to be worried about it is wonderful tradition that you should try.
Also how wonderful to be able to share this blessed statue from Fatima with whole parish family. You need to remember that we are a family and doing something like this reminds us of that.
Ah, I understand the concern now. This makes me think of Moses who raised the bronze snake up so that those who got bitten by snake could be healed - and they did. God does bless certain thing there. How come we didn’t see people looking at the bronze snake as idolatrous?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with it as soon as you internalize the fact that the only proper Christian worship is united in the Sacrifice of Jesus. So for those of you who go to Mass or Divine liturgy the Sacrifice of Jesus is true Christian worship, everything else is just prayer, love and obedience. These are good things and things I can do in front of statues, I can sing to my family or to God or even in front of statues, I can love others and have the freedom to express it in many ways.
Yet worship of God is reserved for the Mass\Divine Liturgy, unless we are not Catholics then prayers are our ultimate worship and the statues become offensive.
But for Catholics since our worship is ultimately centered on the Sacrifice of Jesus and we offer Him up to God, we have a special type of worship which allows for freedom in other areas. Since Jesus dying on the cross is so much more than anything that we can regular humans can do the best and ultimate form of giving something to God is offering up Jesus in His one holy sacrifice for us, that extends to all of us.
That is why it is called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Unless we do not focus on the Sacrifice of Jesus and somehow think that our prayers substitute for that then prayers become our form of worship and we cannot pray to anyone or have any icons or even go to Church. This is why the Sacrifice of Jesus is so important and it illustrates the freedom that Catholics have to love others, even those Saints in heaven. Unfortunately some other groups do not have the freedom to show love for others or even represent others with pictures or statues.
You need to define your “not feeling right” before any answer to you is possible.
What is it that bothers you, specifically?
(( It doesn’t bother me. It’s exactly like passing around a beautiful piece of artwork. It’s something to appreciate and something that would bring people closer to Mary, which brings them closer to Jesus. ))