"Our Lady is my mother: very close to me and someone I turn to for any help I need, any advice I want, any troubles that need sorting out, she's the one that is closer to me than anyone."
"I’ve been a fan of Mary’s particularly since 1958, when I made my first visit to Lourdes on my way here to Rome to study at Propaganda Fide. I've been to Lourdes every year since then. I've been saying to Saint Pope John Paul II yesterday I want to take over his motto 'Totus Tuus' and make it my own. I'm very indebted to Mary, Mother, for many, many graces and blessings over the years."
"Mary, our sweet mother of our Saviour Jesus Christ. When in times of sorrow or stress, go somewhere quiet and speak and pray to our Mother Mary, and always remember, Mary is not just for Christmas but for life. Amen."
"When I speak to Our Lady, I call her three things. I call her 'my Love, my Mother and my Queen'."
"I feel that Mary was so forgiving and gave her life up for everyone and everything. And we've all got something to learn from Mary."
"Our Lady was my constant companion because I could turn to her at any time, through many difficulties, and it was she who brought me into the Church because like a good mother she brought me to her Son. I went to Lourdes on an all night vigil in my early 20s ... and in the grotto in the early hours of the morning I gave my life entirely to Our Lord."
Sister Beatrix is a Poor Clare Sister in enclosed community at Ty Mam Duw in North Wales.
"To me Christmas is about hope. It's about the hope that we have in Jesus because obviously Jesus was born at Christmas. Even though Christmas these days is like really secularised I still think we see some of that hope at Christmas time, because at Christmas everyone wants to give and be really nice to each other and you see people like sending off shoe boxes with presents in and homeless shelters like having Christmas things, and I think the hope we have when Jesus was born, there is still that hope at Christmas time."
Wisdom 1:1 - Love uprightness you who are rulers on earth, be properly disposed towards the Lord and seek Him with simplicity of heart. - "I think it really gets to the heart of Christianity - in order to properly follow Christ, you have to love him and seek him and actually nothing else matters."
"I went to Rome 3 weeks ago and had an audience with Pope Benedict and it was amazing. It was just amazing to see how many people were there and how many people love the Pope. I work for Kimberley, which is a retreat centre, and we got a shout out from the Pope, so it was really cool and made me think more in detail about the Pope and sort of made me feel like there was something bigger out there."
"I went to Lourdes as a medical student and spent a month studying the miracles and cures with Alessandro, who's the head doctor there. If you haven't been to Lourdes, basically, about 5 or 6 million people come every year, and they come there to pay homage to Our Lady. And also they bring sick people along to pray for a miracle or a cure for themselves. In fact, there are 67 miracles which have been officially recognised by the bishop, and there are 7000 miracles which have not been classified by the Church but the medical committee .. believe to be miracles or not explained by science. .. But it's not just the physical miracles which at Lourdes really struck me. It's also the atmosphere there is so encouraging, it's so maternal, it's all centred around Mary, and through Mary to Jesus."
"Last year I did the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage, an 800 km walk. ..I thought it would just be a nice month abroad but for me it became much more spiritual, and I grew closer to God through doing it. By living in community along the way each night, some places there'd be Mass every night, some places there wouldn't but there'd be Evening Prayer, which everyone could join in. It gives you a lot of time for prayer, and through my prayer I felt that by the end of my walk I had come so much further on my spiritual journey."
"Mary is our mother and she is the one that I feel that I can pray to very easily. Yes, she is the mother of us all."
Proverbs 3, 5 - Trust in the Lord with all your strength and lean not on your own understanding - "Because I want to give my whole heart to the Lord and not lean on my own weak humanity. So give praise to the Lord at all times."
"The best experience [at World Youth Day] is sharing the faith with so many other people from across all corners of the world. It's the best thing ever and seeing so many other young Catholics, strong in the faith and all having a joyful time altogether."
"Our children are our gift and, if we have an example of how to hand a gift back to God, then surely it is Our Lady who taught us how to relinquish and how to trust."
"Having the name of Bernadette brought me to a very close affinity with Our Lady of Lourdes. I could completely identify with that encounter - looking at Bernadette in her simplicity and in her poverty and in her weakness, I could identify that from my own experience. And she was open to hear the word of Our Lady speaking to her heart. And when I put myself into Bernadette's shoes and I look at Our Lady, I see heaven and earth meeting."
Matthew 5, 10-12 - Blessed are you when people persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account; rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven - "This sums up quite a lot of your life because there are loads of times when people do persecute you… and it really reminds you not to take it to heart but just to believe in what you know is true."
"Who Mary is for me: devoted mother of Jesus. .. When I’m feeling down and I just ask Mary to put her arms around me, I feel comforted."
"Our Lady has always been a special part of my life. She is the mother of all mothers .. she is the perfect symbol to me of motherhood, of kindness, of generosity, of love, and she just means the world to me and the Mother of my Lord, and how much more special could she be!"
"Mother Mary to me is my heavenly mother, she is my peace and my hope. She is the one who holds me when things are not going great and she never fails to be present in my life, even when I don’t see her. She has become much more of a reality to me in the past year, and I recognise now how much she has influenced my life and how much beauty she shows I have within me because of how beautiful she is."
"The words that come into my mind are those of St Thérèse of Lixieux who said "She is queen and mother, but she is more mother than queen." And throughout my life that's what I have always found Our Blessed Lady to be and always there in the joys and the sorrows and the difficulties and the thanksgivings and someone who is there with us, our mother who loves us."
"Our Lady is showing me that she’s leading me not just to be a mother to my children but to those who have not got a mother, so in a spiritual ways too. She's the Queen of queens, the Mother of the King, and she's our mother."
"Mary is somebody that protects, somebody that I feel safe with, she's all-encompassing. All will be well and all will be well with her. I'd say she's strong and always there."
"There's no doubt about it at all that Mary is important for me because she does God's holy will and, when I try to do that too, I find peace, joy and love. So I want to do, as much as possible, with Mary God's holy will."
Father Bryan reflects on his conversion and vocation in Man for Others
"My priesthood is very, very important to me, without which I do not think I’d be able to live, and I’ve been inspired by many good men in my early days. The earliest inspiration actually came from an Anglican ordinant with Catholic outlook. He didn’t live very long, he became an Anglican clergyman and he died at the age of 49, but he inspired me a lot by his ideas. Then of course I met the priest who received me into the Church when I was 16, Father Hugh Rainam and with him there was Fr John Kenny and Fr Cornelius Leworne, all three were at the Church at Tooting Bec. They were men of such outstanding dedication that I was really inspired. I promised Our Lady that I would become her priest if she would show me the way of right living, which she did and helped me tremendously. Finally of course, I mustn't forget Fr Edward Holloway who was my first professor and helped me tremendously with the studies. But he really introduced me into the spiritual life which is the backbone of priesthood and dedication to God."
3 2us on Saint Joseph
'All importance in life comes from making God big and important and that was what St Joseph was all about. Being humble before God, making way for God so that we find in everything that we really look for in life comes about wonderfully, if God is central to the whole thing."
3 2us on 5th Sunday of Easter
'I am the branches' says the Lord, and you and I are the vines. We have to dwell in Him in order to find this divine energy, in order to ourselves become committed Christians and to share the commitment with one another. It's an extraordinary thing, we can't really love one another at all unless we are in union with God, because only God is love; the more we are united with Him, the more we are a loving people that can share with each other. It's not just words or talk, St John says in his first epistle, but something real and active. The commandments follow from this love of God. It's amazing to think St Catherine of Siena said that if we realised that God is love within us, we'd never commit a single sin."
Father Bryan is parish priest of St Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Tintagel, Cornwall.
"At World Youth Day seeing millions of pilgrims on our walk, they're all young, like my age, seeing how much they love God was such a boost for my own faith. I didn't realise how much it would effect me and how much it would move my heart to see the sheer amount of love of God and representation from all over the world, you see the Church come into its own almost, it just lights you up inside."