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LOCAL VOICES In May, the month of the Blessed Mother, follow her example, her faithfulness

Paul Mullaney



By Paul Mullaney

      Since I was in second grade, the month of May has held special significance for me as we, the Church, pay special recognition to our Blessed Mother.

      Perhaps it has resonated with me more because of the time I spent at schools dedicated to Mary – from the early grade school years at Our Lady of Grace to my college days at Notre Dame.

      But devotion to Mary now takes on a much deeper significance now than it did when I witnessed my first May crowning as a youngster. And it’s not because I’ve grown to better understand the complexities of the many aspects and story lines in the Magnificat, or the role Mary played in redemption and salvation, or why the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary is so joyful, or so mysterious.

      I strive to make it much simpler than that, more relevant to my daily life.

      As a father I appreciate that Mary, as mother of Jesus, is the ultimate parent. Her example is an inspiration to me in my spiritual growth and a true motivation to follow her Son and become a disciple.

      That Mary was a good mom sometimes is lost in translation as we look at her life and hail her as our Holy Queen. She was humble and simple, giving herself fully to God. But she was also productive, making time for what really mattered in raising such a special child.

      As a Catholic high school administrator, I hope that all of our parents can turn to Mary as inspiration in their roles as the first educators of their children, just as Mary was to hers.

      Those of us in Catholic education are here to support, enhance and build upon what parents begin at home as we strive to help form the whole student in mind, body and soul. And we are grateful to those parents who truly understand that aspect of our mission and build on what they’re starting at home by providing a Catholic education for their children.

      Undoubtedly, it works best when all parties are on the same page.

      So this May, my hope for all parents is that we turn to Mary, follow her example and ask her to intercede on our behalf so we can grow closer to her Son. Our Blessed Mother is, after all, the ultimate prayer warrior.

      And, as we attempt to do right by our families, perhaps we can turn to the simplicity of Mary – tender, strong and true – combined with her faithfulness to God, to guide us at home. With the busyness of our lives, we tend to lose sight of what truly is important. I know I am guilty of that all too often.

      Pray together. Eat together. Go to Mass together.

      Studies have been published citing families who sit down together for a daily meal, not only endure fewer negative effects physically and psychologically, but they grow stronger together, remain healthier, perform better at work and in the classroom, and much more.

      My youngest daughter, Megan, has taught me well. She makes it a priority when we are together and ready to begin a meal as family (which doesn’t happen often enough), that the television must be turned off. At first, I was taken aback. “Hey,” I might have said, “The game is tied in the fourth quarter!”

Perhaps I should have thought: What would Mary do?

     Paul Mullaney is president of Bishop Noll Institute. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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