Statues of Mary were everywhere you looked, we were taught about the many apparitions of Mary around the world, celebrated Mary on May Day, and give her the top spot in our thoughts and devotions. St. Mary’s school and Roman Catholic Church taught us these things by order of the Vatican
“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12 (KJV)
In the interest of full disclosure, I was a Catholic for the first 30 years of my life. I was baptized as a baby, received “first holy communion”, was “confirmed”, spent 3 years as an altar boy in St. Mary’s Church in Pompton Lakes, NJ, and in total was educated in the Catholic school system for 12 long years. Part of our Catholic training was learning how to pray to the Virgin Mary. Statues of Mary were everywhere you looked, we were taught about the many apparitions of Mary around the world, celebrated Mary on May Day, and give her the top spot in our thoughts and devotions. St. Mary’s school and Roman Catholic Church taught us these things by order of the Vatican. Every other Catholic school or church I ever visited in 30 years did likewise. So with all that being said, why am I constantly hearing Catholics denying that they pray to Mary?
One reason for this, I suppose, is because prayer to anyone who is not God, who is not part of the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is blasphemy. So Catholics are taught to play “word games”, ala Bill Clinton, and get you debating the difference between praying to someone and simply “venerating” them. But as you will see below, this is nothing more than linguistic hogwash. Catholics absolutely do pray to Mary, and worst of all, they look to her for salvation! But we shall let the words of some of the official, Vatican-approved Catholic prayers to Mary speak for themselves. There are hundreds of Catholic prayers to Mary, I just simply did a search and picked the first 4 at random. Read and decide for yourself:
- The Memorare To Mary: “REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”
- Prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help: “O Mother of Perpetual Help, grant me ever to be able to call upon thy powerful name, since thy name is the help of the living and thesalvation of the dying. Ah, Mary most pure, Mary most sweet, grant that thy name from this day forth may be to me the very breath of life. Dear Lady, delay not to come to my assistance whenever I call upon thee; for in all the temptations that assail me, in all the necessities that befall me, I will never leave off calling upon thee, ever repeating: Mary, Mary. What comfort, what sweetness, what confidence, what tenderness fills my soul at the sound of thy name, at the very thought of thee! I give thanks to our Lord, who for my sake hath given thee a name so sweet, so lovable, so mighty. But I am not content merely to speak thy name; I would utter it for very love of thee; it is my desire that love should ever remind me to name thee, Mother of Perpetual Help.”
- Hail, Holy Queen: “Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.”
- Prayer To Our Lady, Help Of Christians: “Most Holy Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, how sweet it is to come to your feet imploring your perpetual help. If earthly mothers cease not to remember their children, how can you, the most loving of all mothers forget me? Grant then to me, I implore you, your perpetual help in all my necessities, in every sorrow, and especially in all my temptations. I ask for your unceasing help for all who are now suffering. Help the weak, cure the sick, convert sinners. Grant through your intercessions many vocations to the religious life. Obtain for us, O Mary, Help of Christians, that having invoked you on earth we may love and eternally thank you in heaven.”
On January 1, 2014, during the Roman Catholic Feast of the Mother of God, Pope Francis declared the following to be true about Mary:
“The Mother of the Redeemer precedes us continually and confirms us in the faith, in the vocation and in the mission. With her example of humility and of availability to the will of God, she helps us to translate our faith in a joyful announcement of the gospel without frontiers. In this way our mission will be fruitful, because it is modelled on the maternity of Mary. To her we entrust our itinerary of faith, the desires of our heart, our necessities, the needs of the whole world, especially the hunger and the thirst for justice and peace; and we invoke her all together.”
So as you can clearly see, not only does the Vatican teach it’s followers to pray to Mary, they have put her in place of Jesus Christ, to provide as they say “the needs of the whole world”. They call her the “advocate”, the “redeemer”, they call her “holy”, they call her the “intercessor”, and many other titles that belong to God alone.
Do Catholics pray to Mary? Absolutely. They just don’t have the guts to admit they do.