Marian Talk Draws Largest Crowd Yet to Theology on Tap

By Annaleigh Gidosh

Our Lady appears throughout history to "'Crush the head of the dragon,' heal, and lead her children back to God," explained Father Mark Searles to those gathered at Hops at the Paddock in Allentown. Theology on Tap is a growing social event that brings young adults from across the Diocese together to meet and grow in faith.

The Aug. 24 gathering’s topic, Mary, Mother of God, and speaker, Vocations Director and Lehigh University Catholic Chaplain Father Mark Searles, made the evening the most popular Theology on Tap yet. According to Robert Johnson, Director of College and Young Adult Ministry, this Theology on Tap was the most attended in his tenure; every seat was filled.

Father Searles gathered the crowd under the mantle of Mary, whom he called "Our Lady of the Way," by beginning with a Memorare prayer. His devotion to Mary enlightened the discussion as he spoke about his family's Irish heritage and his recent trip to Our Lady of Knock in Ireland.

During August, the Church celebrates the Assumption and the Queenship of Mary. Through these celebrations, Biblical references, and each approved apparition of Mary, the Church helps us understand Mary's roles as Mediatrix and Mother of the Universal Church.

While many misunderstand Catholics' devotion to Mary, Father Searles noted how the Church continues to reveal how Mary's relationship with Jesus "magnifies" or clarifies our relationship with Jesus.

Father Searles recognized the universality of the Church and how, during Mary's apparitions, she appeared not just as a Middle Eastern woman but as a Mexican woman in Mexico, an Irish woman in Ireland, and likewise in other cultures and countries. "She appears to help and reach those people," Father Searles explained.

The reactions to the night were positive. Many asked questions afterward, and, for some, the conversation brought hope. “Father Mark made an interesting point regarding the apparitions of the Blessed Mother and how they coincide with ‘death’ and resurgence in the Church,” said Leslie Pellosie of Notre Dame of Bethlehem Parish. “As bleak as the current landscape is, there is hope based on our history, and a resurgence will come again.”

For those who want to learn more on this topic, another talk entitled “Messages from Our Lady: All About Apparitions” will happen on Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Assumption BVM Church in Bethlehem, by Father Philip Maas. The event is free, but please register at

Photo: Young adults attend Theology on Tap talk on Mary, Mother of God, by Father Mark Searles.


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