Today is the feast of Mary Help of Christians. The title was inserted in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin by Pope St Pius V after the naval victory of Lepanto which saved Europe from the Turkish invasion in 1571. But it was especially Pope Pius VII, one of the great Benedictine Popes, who after being delivered from the grip of Napoleon Bonaparte, and having entered Rome triumphantly on this day, ordained that the feast would be solemnly celebrated in the Church.

In most places, the feast is hardly commemorated, but in Australia it is the patronal feast. We therefore come to her today, asking her to keep watch over the flock of her Son, and lead us all through the paths of divine grace to a blessed eternity. The calamities of history just mentioned remind us that in every age the Church of God faces challenges which call for renewed and fervent prayer, and that through that prayer, we will obtain the victory over the forces of evil which are at work around us and even in us. 

Mary, Help of Christians, keep us all in absolute fidelity to the Christian name we are privileged to bear, and lead us all to the eternal kingdom where, with your Son, you reign forever as queen of angels and saints.