Program #0055 for Wednesday, May 25, 2011: Fr. Jay Mello and Marian devotion

May 25, 2011

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Fr. Matt Williams

Today’s guest(s): Fr. Jay Mello, parochial vicar of St. Patrick Parish in Falmouth and columnist for The Anchor newspaper

Today’s topics: Fr. Jay Mello’s vocation story; The Rosary and Marian devotion; pilgrimages

A summary of today’s show: Fr. Jay Mello discusses with Scot and Fr. Matt the essential nature of Marian devotion for Catholics, the benefits of the Rosary for union with Christ, and pilgrimages to Marian apparition sites. Also the Scavi tour in St. Peter’s Basilica and Where in Europe was Fr. Matt?

1st segment: Scot welcomes back Fr. Matt to the program after his European pilgrimage and vacation. He traveled with his sister and parents and they prayed a lot for WQOM and its listeners. They only saw rain once on the trip and that was on the drive from Rome to Assisi.

Scot sent a shout-out to the graduates of the MAster of Arts in Ministry program and George Martell is taking photos and posting them to the Archdiocese of Boston’s Flickr site in real-time. Also in breaking news today, the Daughters of St. Paul and the Archdiocese have worked out an agreement to end a lawsuit over the pension funds held by the Archdiocese on behalf of the lay employees of the religious order. Scot said this topic will be discussed in more detail on tomorrow’s The Good Catholic Life.

We’ve had several conversations about the Blessed Mother and the Rosary this month because May is dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Fr. Jay Mello, today’s guest, has dedicated his columns in The Anchor newspaper this month to the Rosary and we’ll discuss the Rosary on today’s show.

2nd segment: Scot and Fr. Matt welcome Fr. Jay to the show. Scot said he and Fr. Jay go way back. Jay was a teenager when Fr. Roger Landry, Scot’s brother, was assigned to Fr. Jay’s parish. Scot asked him about his vocational journey.

Fr. Jay said Bishop Seán of Fall River (now-Cardinal Seán) assigned a series of seminarians to his parish and he was exposed to the idea of a vocation. His family was very involved with the parish and he became involved with the parish community itself. At the end of high school, he was praying on Holy Thursday in Adoration and on Easter Monday morning he met with his pastor to tell him he was ready. That fall he went to Franciscan University of Steubenville for his undergraduate work and then went to the North American College in Rome for his theology. It was in Steubenville that he really learned what it meant to be a Catholic and where he learned what it meant to live in a Christian community; where his faith became real to him. The friends and roommates in Steubenville were some of the best people he knew.

Fr. Jay was ordained in 2007. After his ordination he went back to Rome to finish his degree. When he returned he was assigned to St. Julie’s parish and then was assigned to Falmouth last year.Serving on Cape Cod is very different. In the summer, the Cape is hopping. There is a summer chapel a mile from the church. On the weekends, they go from 4 weekend Masses to eight. The retired priests from the Archdiocese of Boston living on the Cape give a lot of help.

He’s been writing the column “Put Out Into the Deep” for a little less than one year. He’s inherited the column from Fr. Roger Landry, the current editor of The Anchor. He’s dedicated his columns in May to the Rosary. The column itself is about re-awakening those parts of our faith that we have let become too casual, that we won’t forget their importance. Many people have rosaries and know what they are, but often they’re hanging from their neck or rearview mirror and not being prayed. There’s a sentimental attachment to the Rosary or even treating it as a lucky charm. The Rosary provides a great opportunity to contemplate the life of our Lord through the eyes of the Blessed Mother.

Fr. Matt said the rosary beads are like an umbilical cord to Mary and through the mysteries of the Rosary we are formed in the womb of Mary to become like her Son, to become like Him. The more you enter into praying the Rosary, the more she’s able to help Christ be formed in you. Fr. Jay say we can get too focused on the prayers that we’re saying—the Our Fathers and Hail Marys—that we can miss the opportunity to meditate on the mysteries of Christ.

In his column, Fr. Jay describes the difference between devotion to Mary and adoration or worship. He said there’s often a misconception of our relationship to the Blessed Mother. We worship God alone. The veneration toward our Blessed Mother can equal that. Yet the great role God chose for the Blessed mother is very important for us. Christ establishes a relationship between us and the Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross.

Fr. Matt asked Fr. Jay to share with us what he wrote about Bl. John Paul and his devotion to the Blessed Mother. For him, Mary is not just the first disciple of Christ, she is the most perfect disciple. In his motto, Totus Tuus, in giving ourselves to Mary, she leads us to her son. At the wedding feast at Cana, people who are struggling go to Mary and she doesn’t solve the problem, but she sends them to her son.

In 2002, the Holy Father gave us the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. For centuries we had the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries. He was courageous in adding these mysteries to focus on different moments of Christ’s public life. The Joyful mysteries jump from His childhood to the Sorrowful mysteries of the Passion. The 5 Luminous mysteries allow us to see certain moments of Christ’s life that help us to see who Christ really is.

Scot said the Rosary was a simple way to pray the 150 Psalms and then morphed into praying the Our Father and Hail Marys. Fr. Matt said St. Dominic would preach the power of the Rosary against evil and to keep people united in Christ. The more you keep faithful to praying the Rosary, it keeps you faithful to Christ. One time when Padre Pio was suffering greatly, he asked a confrere to give him his “weapon”, and when asked to explain, he said, “My rosary.” John Paul II always had a rosary in his hands. The Rosary keeps us united in the life of Christ so as we live in this world we can live in union with Him.

3rd segment: Fr. Matt said he was just in Rome last week with his family and they caught the overflow of Bl. John Paul’s beatification. What stands out is that you can’t look at the man without acknowledging his devotion to Mary. In preparing for the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, he looked at homily by Pope Benedict in 2009. He wrote that the Gospel tells us that from that hour, St. John took his mother Mary to his own home. But the Greek is far richer and could say, He took her into his inner life and his inner being.

Fr. Jay said Marian devotion is not an extra. It is an essential part of the Church. It is a way to live out our baptismal promises, by allowing Mary to enter the inner being of who we are. Fr. Matt said in the total consecration according to St. Louis de Montfort, we understand virtue by looking to Mary, who loved her Son perfectly.

Scot asked Fr. Matt about the role of Mary in our lives in the present day, appearing in numerous apparitions, many of which have been approved by the Church. During this trip, Fr. Matt was able to go to Lourdes. He said it is a place steeped in prayer. Mary asked St. Bernadette for people to pray the Rosary and to adore the Eucharist and every day in Lourdes there is a Eucharistic procession and then a Rosary procession. Fr. Matt said there many people who come with disabilities seeking God’s healing either physically or in giving them strength for their journey.

It began when the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858 in Lourdes, France.

*Office site of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France

There was a miraculous spring that spouted during the apparition and there have been 65 scientifically confirmed miraculous healings from those waters, but there have been thousands who claim a miraculous cure. In all this, the Blessed Mother encourages her children to pray the Rosary.

Scot asked Fr. Jay why people should make pilgrimages to sites of Marian devotion. Fr. Jay said what he sees at these pilgrim sites are people who return to their faith and to the sacraments. He sees people return to Confession by the thousands. Pilgrimages have a longstanding history in the Church. It’s not a vacation or sightseeing tour. It’s a time to pray and allow the Lord to workin our lives by visiting places where great saints have lived, worked, and died.

4th segment: Welcome back. It’s time to announce the winner of the weekly WQOM Benefactor Raffle. Our prize this week is a copy of Father Leo Patalinghug’s cookbook “Grace Before Meals.” The same Father Leo who defeated Bobby Flay on the Food Network show “Throwdown” helps you make family meals a way of life, showing that mealtime is the perfect setting for discussing the major issues all families face. This week’s winner is Eileen Sheehan from Holliston, Massachusetts. Congratulations Eileen! If you would like to be eligible to win in an upcoming week, please visit For a one-time $30 donation, you’ll receive the Station of the Cross benefactor card and key tag, making you eligible for WQOM’s weekly raffle of books, DVDs, CDs and religious items. We’ll be announcing the winner each Wednesday during “The Good Catholic Life” program.

5th segment: During his time at the North American College in Rome, Fr. Jay was a guide for the Scavi tour. St. Peter’s Basilica was built over the tomb of St. Peter, which was actually discovered in 1939 during an excavation under the basilica. The bones of St. Peter were found in his tomb. The Scavi is not just a museum or an historical site. It’s the story of St. Peter and that he gave the tour, by tracing the life of St. Peter in Scripture and then afterward when he traveled to Rome to spread the Gospel and eventually give his life.

Fr. Matt said on this trip he was able to take a Scavi tour on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13. First, it is astonishing to realize that you are walking on the ground of a 1st century necropolis or cemetery of mausoleums. That necropolis was later filled in and Constantine built the first basilica over it.

Fr. Jay said St. Peter was buried on the Vatican hillside and Christians would gather at the tomb to venerate his remains for three centuries. The Constantine basilica put a high altar directly above the tomb and over the next 1,500 years successive altars were placed on the same spot so that when the Pope celebrates Mass on that altar, he is doing so directly over the remains of St. Peter.

The best way to get tickets for the tour, go to the North American College’s website. But you need to plan 3 to 4 months in advance to get tickets. The tours start about 9 am and occur every 15 minutes, but only 4 or 5 tours a day are in English and only about 15 people per tour.

6th segment: Scot asked Fr. Matt about his trip to Europe with his family. It was an aggressive itinerary that started in Lourdes for a couple of days and praying at the shrine, where they experienced the amazing baths that pilgrims can be immersed in as they pray. Groups from Boston go every year, including a group with the Order of Malta who take people who are ill who go to pray for healing.

Fr. Matt also traveled to San Giovanni Rotondo where Padre Pio, a Capuchin saint, lived. He lived with the Stigmata of Christ. He had a great gift of prayer and of confession, being able to read people’s hearts. Fr. Matt was able to celebrate Mass at the same altar where Padre Pio received the Stigmata in 1918. He said the crowds were relatively light.

He then traveled to Assisi to visit the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Clare. While the basilicas were heavily damaged in earthquakes about 10 years ago, you wouldn’t know it today. He was able to pray at the tombs of St. Francis and St. Clare and the cross of San Damiano. Scot said Assisi is one of the most beautiful cities and an excellent example of an ancient European village.

He also went to Lanciano, Italy. It is the location of a Eucharistic miracle where a monk was struggling with his belief in the True Presence of the Lord. During the Mass the Host turned into real flesh and real blood. It remains as living flesh today. Scientists have typed the blood as AB.

They also traveled to Venice, which was an opportunity for a little vacation time but also to visit the Basilica of St. Mark, where the remains of St. Mark are in the high altar.

That will conclude today’s presentation of The Good Catholic Life. For recordings and photos of today’s show and all previous shows, please visit our website: You can also download the app for your iPhone or Android device at to listen to the show wherever you may be. We thank our guest, Father Jay Mello. For our co-host, Father Matt Williams, our Production team of Rick Heil, Anna Johnson, Justin Bell, Dom Bettinelli, and George Martell, this is Scot Landry saying thank YOU for listening, God bless you and have a wonderful evening!

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