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.”