To date Tony Mattar has handed out 148,000 Miraculous Medals. Not your average, standard-sized Miraculous Medals, but the large, super-sized ones that many Maronite Catholics like to wear around their necks.
What would compel a young Catholic man to import and distribute free-of-charge thousands of these Medals that have been cherished by Catholics for generations?
Tony, who attends Our Lady of Lebanon Parish in Harris Park, says he “fell in love” with the Miraculous Medal after someone challenged him to explain why he was wearing one.
It was during his lunch break at work five years ago that a non-Catholic Christian asked him why he was wearing the Medal instead of a crucifix. When he found himself lost for an answer to that question he decided to find out the history of the devotion.
“I actually didn’t have a response and it stumped me because I didn’t know why I was wearing it… Was it a form of idolatry? Because that’s what I was accused of doing by wearing it.”
Through his research into the Medal’s history, Tony discovered the amazing story of St Catherine Labouré, the French nun to whom Our Lady had appeared in the 19th century. Our Lady had asked St Catherine to have the Medal made and distributed to as many people as possible.
Tony, who works as University Chaplaincy Coordinator at Sydney University, says it was the humility of St Catherine that impressed him the most.
“She wasn’t allowed to mention that the Medal came from her and I just found that very profound, the fact that God would use her to spread the love of Our Lady, yet keep it anonymous til after her death.
“In any ministry you are part of in the Church, it has to always be about Christ and not about yourself. That’s what I found really attractive.”
Tony imports the medals from Italy and gives them out to anyone who requests them, free of charge. He accepts donations to help keep the ministry going.
The power of faith, prayer and Our Lady’s intercession has been made evident to him through his distribution of the Medal. Tony says many people return to tell him incredible stories of how their prayers were answered after receiving one of the medals.
“People just call me out of excitement and joy. There’s been so many.”
“My main hope is that they receive an answer to their prayers. It’s called a Miraculous Medal not because it’s a magic medal but because if it’s worn with faith, there will be answers.”
“I believe that a sacramental like the Miraculous Medal is a great way to bring God’s grace into the world.”
For more info or to order Miraculous Medals contact Tony Mattar on 0401 364 335 or [email protected]