The United States of America
Pope Paul VI was a pilgrim to the United States of America in 1965. Saint John Paul II followed in his footsteps, visiting the USA 7 times: in 1979, 1981, 1984, 1987, 1993 for World Youth Day Denver, 1995 and 1999. Papa Benedict XVI made a pilgrimage to the USA in 2008.
So many Americans have generously given their response to a Totus2us podcast (a great witness to the beautiful faith among America's young people), they are shown here alphabetically by Christian name:
beginning with A - D and E - I (here below) and J - Q and R - Z
- many thanks to you all ♥
If you'd like to visit a Catholic Church or know more about what's going on in your area, a good place to find out more on the web are the diocesan websites - links here.
"The Blessed Virgin Mary to me is a great gift; a great gift that was brought to me as a child. My mother and father had great devotion to her and that's carried on through my life and I feel that she's been always the handmaiden to my requests to God for things that I need for my children, my friends, whatever."
"Mary really is a beautiful woman who is someone who understands where we are and comes to us where we are and she's real, she's very real."
"At my university in the United States there is a small replica of Our Lady of Lourdes and I like to go and light a candle to Our Lady of Lourdes... Ever since I was little I have always loved praying to the Blessed Mother; my favourite prayer is the Memorare."
"Mary, when I think of Mary, I think of kindness, and I think she's very kind and looks after us."
"One thing that really sticks out to me about Mary is a year ago I was praying devotions to Mary at the same time as taking a psychology class and I really meditated on the role of motherhood in the development of the lives of children and particularly how Mary must have been an influence on Jesus, the Christ child. And that just really struck me as a really human understanding of the Holy Family."
"I love Mary, I especially love Our Lady of Lourdes and how much she has healed me. And I never really understood the rosary at all until I prayed it 100 times and then it just came alive. I think that’s like that with everything in our faith. It’s sometimes hard to understand the Eucharist or the Bible or the rosary or Mary, but it’s going through that struggle to make it come alive, but then once it comes alive it never goes away. So to never give up, never give up on making the things of the faith come alive because they'll be the only things you can hold onto when God calls you to do crazy things and everyone doesn't understand."
Go in Peace
"My biggest struggle was just vulnerability in Confession but a passage in Scripture that really has helped me slowly overcome this struggle to be vulnerable is the passage of Mary Magdalen, where she goes into Simon’s house whilst he’s having dinner with Jesus, and she pours this expensive oil over Jesus’ feet, she cracks open this alabaster jar. And the vulnerability of this act is amazing and she says nothing but lets the Lord defend her. Simon gets up and says ‘If you knew this woman, you would not let her do this, Jesus.' But Jesus stops him and says 'Those who are forgiven little, love little, but those who are forgiven much, love much.' And I had a hard time knowing my desire for forgiveness but I've always known my desire for love. This passage has shown me that my desire for forgiveness, the more I am forgiven, the more I can love, the more my heart is broken open to love more people. And so I've slowly been able to be vulnerable in Confession by just knowing that the more vulnerable I am, the more my heart is broken open to love others. So I just encourage you to not be afraid in Confession because your heart is made to just love more than you can imagine, and this Sacrament is where you go and meet the love of your life and he breaks open your heart."
"I was 21, in my last year of college studying business, and my mother asked me to come with her to Medjugorje, to do a pilgrimage with her. I didn’t really know about the place, but it was a trip to Europe and I wasn’t going to turn that down, so I said yes. I went with my mother and younger brother and we went to Medjugorje and spent a week there. And that was the most powerful week of my life. It was the week in which I finally woke up after having been raised Catholic .. I wasn't really practicing at the time and was more concerned about the party life in college and my own interests in doing what I wanted to do. It was a week that God really opened my eyes, it was a time of prayer, it was a time of really coming to know what my faith was about. I spent some time on the mountains of Medjugorje in prayer, praying to Our Lord to give me some direction, to figure out what He wanted in my life. And all of a sudden came an incredible realization of His presence, of a presence that loved me, that knew me and that I was in his hands, that there is nothing that I need worry about, that I was in his hands, that He was going to take care of me. It was an overwhelming sense of his love for me, absolutely overwhelming and I couldn't escape it. I knew after this experience that I had to do something, I had to change the way I was living. … I came back from that week in Medjugorje with such a hunger to learn more about my faith, to learn more about God."
Eric has always thought John Paul II was really cool, without hesitation choosing him for a school paper as the person he'd most like to have dinner with! Eric has recently seen the film Karol which does a fantastic job detailing Karol Woytyla's early life and all the struggles he lived through. Eric was able to visit JPII's tomb in St Peter's while he was at the Emmanuel School of Evangelization in Rome.
"Happiness means to be rooted in love." - John Paul II
"Mary, for me as a youth minister, is a wonderful example to the youth that I minister to because her entire life points to God. Every moment of every day she pointed to Christ and she wanted people to follow her son."
"Mary has a special place in my heart as my mother and she really brings me closer to Christ. I learn so much about loving Jesus just by loving her. And she lets me be little because I’m so unworthy and she’s so perfect that she always brings me to Jesus. And I’ve just learned always to hold her hand and she'll always lead me to Christ."
"I want to thank Papa Benedict for his witness and for his love for the Church. In both ways it’s the way he lives his life, and his vocation is inspiring to me because he shows us what a saint right now can look like and how unique everyone’s call is. But what is the same throughout all is that we're all called to listen to the will of God and to say yes, whatever it is. From that will come so much beauty and so much love, and that is how the Church should live."
"For me the Blessed Virgin is definitely a big part of my life, especially after High School .. I always pray to her, especially when I'm in need and I feel a comfort in praying."
"We ended up being baptised in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. Mary led us there but this is the thing about Mary: her role is to lead us to her Son, Christ Jesus; her role is to show us what it is like to love God completely, to say 'yes' to Him everyday and for me that means that Mary is the one who teaches me what it means to truly be a human being."
Go in Peace
"This particular priest, after very patiently listening to my confession, just asked me ‘So, you were an atheist. How did you come to the Church?’ Instead of launching into the ordinary form of absolution in a rote way, he really wanted to talk to me about my faith. It was difficult to think of a quick answer to such a big question but after a second I simply said ‘Well, I could no longer deny the reality of God in my life and I fell in love with Jesus Christ.’ I’ll never forget the wisdom that that priest showed in giving me the opportunity to go back to that place of first love and of first conversion, in the midst of spiritual trouble. That was exactly what I needed, and that's what the confession, the Sacrament, is for; it's to remind of the love in which we're rooted, the transcendent love of God that has the power to heal anything."
"When I approach to receive the body of Our Lord, what I always remember is St Thérèse calling this moment the kiss of love from Jesus and I remember attending midnight Mass on Christmas Eve once at a Cistercian monastery and hearing the priest there proclaim "This is the feast of Love." I remember this priest speaking about how God is Love, and what does love do? Love wants oneness with us so Love becomes one of us. The great infinite God becomes a baby, small enough so that we can hold him in our arms, and the Lord of the universe, yes, He wants to be hidden beneath a piece of bread, something we can be fed by, something we will consume and be nourished by and take into ourselves. So this is what the Eucharist is for me: a very gradual unfolding of this mystery that God is Love. It's a gateway into the heavenly communion that I am invited to."
Erin received Papa Benedetto's Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter Sunday 2007
"That moment, that Easter, had its trajectory in our eventual conversion to the Catholic faith. Pope Benedict has been there every step of the way for us, offering us a Holy Father whom we could respond to and relate to in some degree because his vision about where the Church is and where it needs to go is so clear, because he is this man of great faith and great intellect and he shows that these two things, far from being mutually exclusive, go hand in hand together. So I think he is the Pope that we need right now, the one who understands the challenges we face and the really urgent need for reevangelism."
"You never hear a phrase from Saint Thérèse that doesn't include the word 'love'. Her little way is to do small things with great love. Her motto was 'Love is repaid by love alone.' In speaking about God, she said 'I do not regret having given myself up to love.' This was her way of abandoning herself to God. She was in love with God, because she was in love with love. Even her last words were 'My God, I love you.'"
Erin was a pilgrim to Chapel on the Rock in the USA
"There was this storm brewing over the mountains. If you can imagine these mountains receding into the darkness and the white statue of Christ shining out among them. The view was absolutely breathtaking. It was as if one were beholding the coming of Christ. And then lightning started to flash over the peaks, really bold flashes of lightning, and we just stood there from a distance and watched the beauty of the storm. This tremendous reality of God, present, acting, powerful, and there was one flash of lightning that came just over a mountain near to the statue of Christ and almost seemed to point down at him. And the only way that I can describe this moment, the experience of seeing that, was like hearing the words directly from Him: "Be still and know that I am God."
Erin's JPII quote
"Man's eternity passes through love." from his play The Jeweller's Shop (which he wrote when a young Father Karol Woytyla)
Erin on our new and beloved Papa Francisco
"First of all I want to say how grateful I am that we have a Jesuit pope. I was instructed in the faith and baptised by a Jesuit priest and the Jesuits have been such an anchor in my own personal faith, and I think it's wonderful as well that we can look forward to a pontificate that perhaps will also embody a Franciscan spirit … There was a meeting with journalists, people from the media and I was listening to Pope Francis speak to these journalists and he said something that just made me stand still and I was really deeply touched by. It seemed not a departure from the past, but just something new, something I really haven't heard a past pope say before or he was saying the same thing but in a new way .. He simply said 'I know that some of you don't belong don't belong to the Catholic Church, I know that some of you are non-believers, so I'm going to give you my blessing in silence, respecting the conscience of each individual because all of you are sons of God.' And that touched me at so many different levels."
TOP CHAT about Totus2us & 1000 somethings about Mary
This 'chat' was not originally intended to be heard other than by Erin to help with the article she was writing for Novenas magazine. She pulled the trick of an article out of her hat with such charm & aplomb (& a determination that wasn't to be dodged) that Ruth couldn't fail but cave in! Once recorded (over skype with a deep-breathing computer), Erin & her darling husband & mother then gave the shpeel that others might like to hear something about the story of Totus2us. So here it is, in great thanksgiving for 1000 somethings about Mary and 3 years of Totus2us.
"For me, Mary is the person who brings you closer to Jesus, who really does miracles, and who is really the heart of the family who helps the family pray together."
"Mary enshrouds each one of us in her mantle and she holds us close just as a mother would do."
"I have prayed for years to Our Lady. I say the rosary every day and I pray to her for my husband to come into the Church. I've been married (in the Church) for 25 years but my husband is not Catholic. And now he's coming to RCIA classes with me, I'm his sponsor, and I prayed to Our Lady for this for years and she's answered my prayers and I just love Our Lady so very, very much."
"I think the Eucharist is just one of Christ's most beautiful gifts to his Church. It basically fulfills his promise to be with us always and it was the last thing he said to us before ascending into heaven after his life on earth. It's his mode of being with us which is so beautiful because, you know, building up to the Incarnation, you had the Jews, there was just this longing to have God's presence with us. So to me it's beautiful how through the Eucharist He connects with us in such a human way. Obviously he created our human nature, so he understands through our human nature we need that personal connection for there to be true affection. And God is love, so He understands that we need that connection and so he gave us the Eucharist so as to have a tangible connection and presence with Him until the last days. And to me that's just beautiful. "
"Mary is Mother to me. She's where I go when I need help; she's where I go when I need strength; she's where I go."
"For me, Mary is a mother. She’s one that I can trust, I can place my hand in her hand and trust that she’ll lead me straight to her son. She’s the one I can give every grace that I receive to, and that I completely trust that she’ll multiply those graces for me and take care of all those that I love if I just show my love for her."
Garrett's response on the Eucharist - In Memory of Me
"The last day of the conference they had eucharistic adoration and there were 4000 college students all in this ballroom on their knees in complete silence and they processed the monstrance in and they placed the Lord on the altar. As soon as they exposed the Blessed Sacrament, my heart jumped, I just broke down. It hit me all of a sudden: that is God on the altar, that is God right in front of me, and I don't deserve to be present here in front of him, I don't deserve anything at all. And it struck my heart that that is the Lord right in front of me and, even in the midst of all my sin (I could name off every sin imaginable that a college student these days would be involved in) He was there to pull me up and it was through His presence in the Eucharist that I was really inspired to continue to pursue my vocation."
"There is a wonderful old Marian hymn that I used to sing when I was a young boy growing up, 'O Mary, We Crown Thee With Blossoms Today' .. It was a hymn that I'd forgotten over many years until about 10 years ago I heard it played and there was a verse that really struck me deeply and it goes: 'How dark without Mary, life's journey would be.' And that's exactly the way I felt because I'd pretty much stopped my devotion to Our Lady for 20 or 30 years, and that just struck me and I said 'it's time to turn back to Our Lady, to pray to her to lead me to Jesus again.' And it sure worked and for that I'm eternally grateful because it is so true how dark without Mary life's journey would be."
"I find that when I really have special need or when I have special concerns that invariably the thought of Mary pops into my mind, and it becomes very real and very important in this process. It's very hard to explain because my natural instinct would be to go to the Highest Power but I find that Mary for some reason is a real source of consolation and love and takes on added importance during those times."
"The Blessed Mother, to me as a mother, is such an inspiration because having put her faith in God in the way she did, to be able to accept the fact that Jesus would have to die on the Cross and die for all of our sins and stand by and watch this and allow this to happen gives me such great inspiration as a mother with my child. To put faith in God and to know that no matter what trials come our way, you just have to put your faith in God and let Him lead the way and guide you. Even though it might not work out the way you intend, there is a reason for it and Mary helps me to see that every single day in all that I do. And I love her and thank her so much every day for her Son.."
"St Thérèse is one of my favourite saints because of many reasons but one of the main reasons is her capacity to love. Whenever I think of her, I think of love. She was so loved by her family, growing up, and then as a Carmelite, her love for God and for the Church was so evident. And, as she promised, when she went to heaven she would do good on earth, which is her love for us. And it's apparent the whole time, when you say her novena or at least when I say her novena, I definitely feel her working and feel her intercessions."
"Mary is everything to me. She’s my mother who always protects me and guides me. She’s the one who leads me to Jesus, especially when I’m in most need. I am a seminarian preparing to be a priest and I know that it is thanks to her, through her intercession and thanks to her prayers, that I will make it until the end, till the ordination, and not only that but she's going to be the one that's going to help me to be a holy priest. ..
Para mí, María es todo. María es mi madre, que siempre me protege y siempre me guía."
- as well as hopefully bringing you joy,
you'd be really helping Totus2us ♥
Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt.
Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria. - St Louis de Montfort
Blessed John Paul II took his motto Totus Tuus from this quote.
"I am totally yours and all that I have is yours.
I accept you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart.”