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Fr Dan McCaughan: Our Lady, queen of the domestic church

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Families join to pray the Rosary at home. Photo: CNS, Doug Hesse, The Leaven.

The Saturday night rosary was a cornerstone of my family life growing up. After dinner was finished, all 12 of us would gather in the living room, sitting on the couch, chairs or the floor.

The lights would be switched off and the candles next to the statue of Our Lady holding the child Jesus would be lit.

Mum and Dad would then list all the people we were going to pray for and if any child had anybody else to add to the list they could do so. Then the rosary began.

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Each decade was led by a different child. The rhythm of the Hail Marys soon began to spread a quiet, familiar calm.

As each chorus of “Holy Mary, Mother of God” resounded through the living room I used to privately think that the face of Mother Mary, flickering in the candlelight was smiling and somehow even alive.

Mary was present in that living room listening to the prayers of our family, her family, bringing us closer together.


Family rosary was a true experience of the domestic church, an encounter with God with and through the people he had put into our lives and in the midst of our ordinary circumstances.

I can’t ever recall a Saturday where there was universal enthusiasm to pray the rosary. Somebody would always be out of sorts and sometimes that somebody was me.

Nevertheless, once we began to pray, a peace would envelop the room and by the time the rosary had finished, whatever had been bothering me would no longer be a big deal—if not completely forgotten.

Gradually I became more aware that Saturday night was the night we invited Mary to visit and she would always accept the invitation.

In 1995, Pope St John Paul II added the title “Queen of the Family” to the Litany of Loreto (which we prayed every rosary).

Dad made quite a big thing of the significance of this addition. Mary is our mother and Queen and she loves and safeguards the love within a family.

The Reynold family prays the rosary before the traveling pilgrimage statue of Our Lady of Fatima Aug. 21 in St. Paul Church in Sellersburg, Ind. They are Elizabeth, left, Barbara, Rebecca, Anna Kate, William and Joseph. (CNS photo/Natalie Hoefer, The Criterion ) See FATIMA-PILGRIMAGE-STATUE Sept. 21, 2016.

When Mary is made Queen of any home and she is honoured through prayer she gifts some of the same divine atmosphere that dwelt in her own home with Joseph and Jesus.

As the perfect mother she rejoices and suffers with the ups and down of the life of her children.

When they pray, she listens, when they are hurt, she consoles, when they sin, she grieves but at the same time intercedes for their conversion of heart.

Most of all, she works to bring each of her children close to her son, Jesus, and she longs for the day when she can give us a massive, motherly embrace when we enter heaven.

We have just begun the month of May, which along with October is especially dedicated to Mary. This is a golden opportunity for families to invite Mary our mother and Queen of the family to dwell in their homes.

Like all good mothers, she puts our house in order. When she is invited in, her light makes all that is good in our homes glow even brighter.

She also gently but clearly shows up the obstacles we have put up to love and truth and helps us remove them.

“we have just begun the month of may, which along with october is especially dedicated to mary. this is a golden opportunity for families to invite mary our mother and queen of the family to dwell in their homes”.

Mary’s presence brings peace and causes demons to flee. When we know ourselves as sons and daughters of Mary we become better parents, spouses and children in our own families.

As we begin the Marian month of May, I would encourage any family seeking to deepen their spiritual life and connection with God to start with the rosary.

There is no safer, faster or sweeter way to the heart of God than through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

May Our Lady cast her mantle of protection over each of your families and may you know the joy of her love.

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