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Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church in Hillsdale, Michigan. | Col­legian Archives

Saint Anthony Catholic Church invited Father Louis of the Fathers of Mercy to hold Parish Mission talks this past week, in order to educate lis­teners about the Catholic faith and sacra­ments, as well as to spir­i­tually reju­venate its con­gre­gation.

Over the past week, Louis spoke about death, judgment, the sacra­ments, the Eucharist, and Mary as the mother of God, the Church, and sal­vation. In the talk about Mary, he empha­sized scripture and sym­bolism to explain why Catholics ven­erate Mary.

“You see the whole doc­ument of our Lady there, being unfolded in Scripture,” Louis said. “Mary is the mother of Jesus, and Jesus is the savior, and our Lady, by virtue of being the mother of Jesus, is the mother of our savior and the mother of our sal­vation. And if Jesus is the head of the Church — which he is — then by virtue of giving birth to the head of the Church, she’s given birth to the entire body, Mother of the Church.”

Mary had to be “spe­cially holy” in order to con­ceive Jesus as a virgin, Louis said. Because of that con­ception, he said the whole of the Trinity par­tic­i­pated in Mary’s womb, and Mary was able to have a more intimate rela­tionship with all parts of the Trinity that none had had before.

Louis pointed out that Mary also mag­nifies the Lord and makes visible the divine attributes of God the Son through her humility and grace. He said Mary inter­cedes for people who are too deep in their sin to pray to Jesus. 

“We know from our own expe­rience that when a person is deep in mortal sin,” Louis said, “they are so par­a­lyzed with mortal sin that they can’t pray to Jesus. They can’t pray to nobody. They’re not able to. So our Lady steps in. They haven’t received the sacrament; they’re not able to pray. Help them!”

Dedra Birzer, lec­turer in history, attended all of the talks and said she found Louis to be very per­sonable.

“You can tell he’s a very prac­ticed speaker and very well-edu­cated, but also a sto­ry­teller” Birzer said. “He wove stories in all over the place…He creates that kind of con­nection.”

Birzer said the series was con­crete and gave her a “tem­per­ature” of how she was doing in her faith.

“What I took away from all of it was he’s very much urging us to spend time in ado­ration,” she said. “All of the answers come there, and the mir­acles. That’s where Christ is now, and he can do all the same mir­acles he could do when he was bodily – human and divine – on earth, but we have to be per­sistent, we have to keep going to him in the blessed sacrament and keep asking him for this mir­acles.”

Junior Zsanna Bodor attended two of the talks and said she “was drawn to Louis’ dynamic style” and his passion for his faith from the beginning. She said he was a “prac­tical, down-to-earth person” who was “real and engaging.”

“It’s so inter­esting because as Catholics, we really focus on the beau­tiful, and some­times when we’re talking about Catholicism and our faith, it can become very roman­ti­cized and almost poetic in a way,” Bodor said. “Espe­cially as stu­dents, we’re always in our heads. Father is the kind of speaker who says it straight, and he gives you prac­tical advice and guidance.”