MUMBAI, India — Cardinal Oswald Gracias this week celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, a feast popularized in India after it was introduced to the country in the 1940s.
Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, told a congregation of over ten thousand at St. Michael’s Church, in Mahim, to pray the rosary in the family for peace.
“Exactly 45 days ago, Pope Francis and the Universal Church celebrated the Centenary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima,” Gracias said on June 27. “At Fatima, Mother Mary appeared to the three children, and Pope Francis 45 days ago canonized Jacinto and Francisco.”
The cardinal said Mary told the children to “pray, pray the rosary for peace,” and said Mary also gives the same invitation to the people of today.
“There is so much suffering, turmoil, distress, and poverty of all kinds, and brokenness in families, and Mary said pray and consecrate yourselves to my Immaculate Heart,” Gracias said.
“And Mary invites us on her feast day to consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart, not just externally, but [with an] interior attitude, with our lives and hearts: Choosing God to be the center of our lives and home,” the cardinal said.
“God is the source and strength and center of our home,” he continued. “This the message of Mary today, pray, and make God…the God who journeys with us, every day in our lives the King and center of our homes, and where there is God, Mary is always there present and interceding for us and helping and guiding us.”
In 1948, Father Edward Placidus Fernandes returned to India from Europe, where he had seen the devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Succor in Belfast, Ireland. He found an image of the devotion, and placed it on the original, which is housed in Rome, and brought it home with him.
Fernandes became the vicar at St Michael’s in Mahim, and from there the devotion slowly grew around the country.
Gracias attended services at the church in his youth, and told the congregation he often visits the church “in moments of important decisions and has experienced the help of Mother Mary.”
During this visit, the cardinal mentioned Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia, and said in his experience, “not a single marriage has been broken, where there is sincere pray in the home and family, while there have been upheavals and troubles, the grace and strength of prayer have saved the marriage.
“Pope Francis says to families, to use three words ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry.’ These three words are the virtues,” the cardinal said.
“Please remind us that we should be polite, respectful and patient in spite of the small frustrations of daily life, an atmosphere of profound and sincere affection and gentleness towards the other, exercising the virtues,” Gracias said. “In this way they practice the virtue of charity in all things.”
The cardinal said “thank you” is important because the dignity of the human person and social justice depend on an education in gratitude.
And lastly, he said the word “sorry” is the best way to prevent a shared life from disintegrating.
“Husband and wife, if ever you quarrel, don’t let the day end without saying sorry and making your peace with each other, recommended Pope Francis,” the cardinal said.
During the Mass, Gracias also prayed for his predecessor, Cardinal Ivan Dias, who died on June 19 at the age of 81.