By Maureen Smith
GREENWOOD – A special icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, commissioned in honor of the Jubilee of the original, will spend two weeks with the Redemptorists in Greenwood along with a companion historical exhibit.
Redemptorist missionaries are celebrating 150 years of spreading devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, one of the most beloved images of the Mother of God in the worldwide Catholic Church. Ever since Pope Pius IX entrusted the Redemptorists with the Perpetual Help Icon with the mandate to “Make her Known” in 1866, this ancient image of the Mother of God has enjoyed “great veneration and fame for its miracles.”
“I want people to know that Our Lady of Perpetual Help is a powerful intercessor for us and we have a privileged time with her in Greenwood and in the diocese,” said Father Scott Katzenberger, CSsR, leader of the Redemptorist community in Greenwood.
While the faithful gathered in Rome and major centers of Redemptorist ministry throughout the world on June 27, the feast day of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the Redemptorists of the Denver Province hosted a capacity crowd at the historic St. Alphonsus “Rock” Church in St. Louis, MO, where the seed of the perpetual novena was planted in the western USA on July 11, 1922.
Most importantly, the jubilee celebration launched a renewal of the Redemptorists’ commitment to preach the Gospel, especially using the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to illustrate the mystery of redemption: the incarnation, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
A special Jubilee Missionary Icon touched to the original in Rome has been traveling to Redemptorist ministry sites in the Denver Province with portions of the historical exhibit, and will visit the Mississippi Delta Monday, Nov. 21 through Saturday, Dec. 3.
The Redemptorist community at Locus Benedictus Retreat Center in Greenwood is offering two presentations about the meaning of the symbols contained within the icon. The first, in English, is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26. A Spanish presentation will be offered at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3.
People are also welcome to walk through the exhibit and venerate the icon daily from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and in the evenings from 5-7 p.m. except on Thanksgiving.
“We will arrange the items in such a way as to create a space for people to venerate the icon in an appropriate space and be able to enjoy the exhibit,” said Father Katzenberger.
The historical exhibit highlighting the 150-year history of the Redemptorists and Our Mother of Perpetual Help in the western United States includes images and articles about Our Lady of Perpetual Help as well as the history of devotion beginning in the early 20th century.
Part of the exhibit showcases the powerful intercessions of Our Mother with a sampling of the many miracles attributed to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
(Kristine Stremel, public and community affairs director for the Redemptorists of the Denver Province, contributed to this report.)
By Maureen Smith