Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost—8 September AD 2019
Birthday of the Blessed Virgin—Nuestra Señora de Caridad de Cobre
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Ordinary of the Mass
Nativity of the Blessed
In addition to
being the thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, today is Our Lady’s
birthday and the feast of Our Lady of Charity—Nuestra Señora de Caridad
del Cobre. I don’t like to reuse material from old sermons, but today I
will reiterate some facts about Our Lady that I told you about two years
Our Lady of
Charity is celebrated primarily in Cuba, other Catholic countries, and
here in Florida. The feast commemorates the rescue by the Blessed
Virgin of two American Indian men and an African slave boy in a boat
during a terrible storm around 1612. After the storm cleared, the men
found a image of the Virgin floating it the water, which was ultimately
enshrined in the city of El Cobre—named for the copper mines.
Locally produced statues and pictures include the three men in a
row-boat, below the shining image of the Virgin as she prepared to calm
the waters. In 1801 King Charles IV of Spain freed the slaves from the
copper mines in honor of the Blessed Virgin.
Our Lady of
Charity is important to modern Americans as she is invoked to protect us
from hurricanes. Two years ago Hurricane Irma was predicted to roar
north up the Florida Peninsula, devastating both coasts—the path of the
storm was altered on the Feast of Our Lady, and little or no damage was
done to the coastal interests. Today, Hurricane Dorian, is predicted to
blow harmlessly into the North Atlantic at around noon. The Bahamas
sustained serious damage and the Carolina/Virginia coast was impacted
to a lesser degree, but we can thank our Lady that our homes and
our church were left untouched—I haven’t heard of our people even
What I said two years ago and want
to reiterate is that:
Catholic history is filled with accounts of the Blessed Virgin Mary
coming to the aid of her faithful clients in many miraculous ways. Many
accounts concern her intercession in military manners.
Our own church, dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, commemorates a
great naval battle on Sunday, October 7, 1571 during which Pope Pius V
lead the Catholic faithful in praying the Rosary while a hopelessly
outnumbered Don Juan of Austria and his navy gained a signal victory
over the Moslems who had been tyrannizing the Mediterranean.
The Eastern churches celebrate Pocrova, the “Holy protection” of
Constantinople from the Moslems in A.D. 911 by the Blessed Virgin:
She held her
veil (omophor) over the attacked city as a sign of assured
protection. To the great joy of the inhabitants the Christian soldiers
were blessed with a striking victory over the Moslems.
In just a few
days we will observe the feast of the Holy Name of Mary (September 12)
instituted by Pope Innocent XI when the Moslems were repelled from the
gates of Vienna by John Sobieski under the patronage of our Blessed
In 1716, Clement XI inscribed our feast of the Holy Rosary on the
calendar of the Universal Church, in gratitude for the victory gained by
Prince Eugene in Serbia, on August 5, the feast of Our Lady of the Snow.
More recently, at Hiroshima, on August 6th, 1945, a group of German
Jesuits survived the nuclear bomb blast in a house that was a mere eight
city blocks from the explosion site. Everything around, except for
their house, was leveled, and a half million people died. The Jesuits
attributed their protection from the blast to the fact that they recited
Mary’s Rosary together every day.
Today, people are drawn to the false god of materialism. The threat of
Islam looms as it did in the middle ages. Marxism and the errors of
Russia threaten the Church and all of Western civilization, not just
Russia and Ukraine. The threat of nuclear annihilation is greater than
ever before. The Blessed Virgin has promised to remedy all of these if
we would do penance and honor her Immaculate Heart as requested at
Someone once said that “All history is military history” referring, or
course to the reality that battles and bombs and wars do fill most of
the pages of our history books. But we must not lose sight of the fact
that the Blessed Virgin is more than the patroness of generals and
admirals—she is the patroness of all faithful Catholics when they face
situations more than they can handle with their own resources. She is
the Health of the Sick, our Lady of Consolation, Help of Christians,
Refuge of Sinners, Comforter of the Afflicted, Virgin Most Powerful,
Virgin Most Merciful —and the titles go on and on.
It turns out that she is
venerated [as Our Lady of Charity del Copre] in a number of
countries and is often associated with her protection of common people
who face more than they could handle with respect to wind and water—poor
people, often desperately adrift on the waves.
May she continue
to protect us in the future, and may she ask her Son to relieve the
pains of those who were severely damaged by this most recent storm.