By Annaleigh Gidosh
Mary’s role as Mediatrix is clear. Without Mary's "yes," we would not have salvation. "The trajectory of our Lord's birth was still all resting on Our Lady's 'yes,'" explained Father Philip Maas, who spoke about Marian Apparitions and Mary's role as co-mediator with Christ on Friday, Sep 8, the Feast of her Nativity.
The Knights of Malta, who helped prepare the event, took the podium at the beginning of the evening to thank those attending. They pointed out that Bishop Alfred Schlert, who was in attendance, "hand-picked" Father Maas for this presentation at Assumption B.V.M., Bethlehem. The popularity of the talk was apparent by the attentive crowd of 110 from parishes across the Diocese.
Father Maas opened his talk by distinguishing between public and private revelation. “God has already spoken all we need to know.” There is no new theology to be found out. If Mary ever appears, it is to give “credence” to what we already know.
Our Mother often appears when a culture or generation needs instruction and to be called back to God. "All approved messages have the same 'Pray, do penance, and repent,’” Father Maas explained. Many have taken the call of the apparitions seriously. For example, nine million Mexicans turned to God after the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Father Maas noted that systematic investigation precedes any approval that Bishops or the Vatican give when determining a genuine Marian Apparition. It appears that Mary wants Bishops to clearly know the legitimacy of her presence when there are obvious miracles like the tilma and roses in Guadalupe, the "dancing of the sun" in Fatima, and the “spring of water” that flowed in Lourdes after Mary gave her messages at those sites.
Champion, Wisconsin, holds the only approved U.S. apparition site where “Our Lady of Good Help” appeared. She made herself known by protecting every inch of land consecrated to her from wildfires that raged through in 1861. Though not a Marian Apparition site, Maria Lanakila Catholic Church, which remained untouched by the destructive fires that recently ravaged Lahaina, Hawaii, shows that Mary’s mantle extends over us today.
Genuine Marian apparitions support Catholic teaching. "We've not been trying to understand more revelation, but what God has already revealed," and therefore, "God is not calling us to something new but calling us back to what we know," said Father Maas.
In fact, there are three instances in which the Mother of God appeared within a few years or months after popes declared Marian doctrines.
Father Maas asked, "What makes Mary so fitting to be the one who appears?" God wants us to offer the same "yes" Mary gave. "We won't receive our [resurrected] bodies until the end of time, but Our Lady shows us what will become of us at the end of time," said Father Mass, referencing the teaching that, through her Assumption, Mary is embodied in Heaven even now.
As the presentation ended, Bishop Schlert gave his blessing to those present. The crowd then moved to the parish center for food and fellowship.