Bishop Ray suggests we turn to Our Lady

This May turn to Our Lady, Queen of Peace for strength and peace.

With Covid-19 many people will find this May upsetting and distressing. Prayer to Our Lady each day can be a source of calm, hope and resilience. She will bring your prayer to the ear of the Lord Jesus.

Our glad voices telling

The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.

O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today,

Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.

When Our Lady appeared in Knock in August 1879 poverty and disease was common in Ireland. In the years since, Knock has been a place of comfort and hope for Irish people in need. Lourdes also, has been a special place of peace and hope for the sick. The sick, the bereaved and the troubled have consistently turned to Our Lady.

The Gospel speaks of ‘a sword piercing the soul of Mary’. Think of the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt. Think of Mary who stood by the cross as her Son was dying.

With Covid-19, the month of May will not be an easy month. Many people are beginning to feel trapped and frustrated. In their hearts they know that change can only come carefully and gradually. Pope Francis speaks of this time as ‘a time of trial’.

Devotion and prayer to Our Lady can replace panic and distress with calm and trust. Remember the tradition of the May altar with the first flowers of the summer honouring Our Lady. Also remember, the tradition of saying the Rosary throughout May. Notice the many outdoor grottoes and shrines to Our Lady. Each day the Rosary, in full or just a decade, can open our hearts to the loving caring presence of God.

It is good to look beyond ourselves. Are there people worse off than us? I think of all those with loved ones who have died; I think of those working long hours under great pressure on the front line and I think of Leaving Cert students preparing as best they can. Are there people we can offer support and practical help to at this time?

Pope Francis issued a letter to the world for the month of May. He writes:

 “I want to encourage everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May.  . . . .

 I keep all of you in my prayers, especially those suffering most greatly, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. I thank you, and with great affection, I send you my blessing”.

If you would like to join with others praying the Rosary. Boherbue parish and St. John’s, Tralee, are streaming the Rosary daily. Radio Maria, an Irish Radio Station also prays the Rosary nightly at 9pm. This can easily be found side by side with your Saorview television channels. When you are on RTE1, if you go forward one you have RTE2, if you go back one you have Radio Maria.

Pope Francis has written a prayer that he invites us to pray at the end of the Rosary.  He will pray it daily during the month of May ‘in spiritual union with all of you’.


O Mary,

You shine continuously on our journey

as a sign of salvation and hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,

who, at the foot of the cross,

were united with Jesus’ suffering,

and persevered in your faith.

“Protectress of the Roman people”,

you know our needs,

and we know that you will provide,

so that, as at Cana in Galilee,

joy and celebration may return

after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,

to conform ourselves to the will of the Father

and to do what Jesus tells us.

For he took upon himself our suffering,

and burdened himself with our sorrows

to bring us, through the cross,

to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God;
Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always
from every danger, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.

+ Ray Browne    Diocese of Kerry     28th April 2020.


For the full text of Pope Francis’ letter