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 and J - Q (here below) 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.
"One of the beautiful things that I remember about it that I will never forget is as I was leaving, I told Father Mahoney 'That's why I came into your office last night and this morning was for this confession.' That was the only time that he got angry, was he said 'Never again put off confession.' He just knows the power and showed me the power that is the forgiveness of sins that is granted to a priest through the Holy Spirit and through the Church. It's not always easy, it didn't make me perfect (far from it), but it did in a real way introduce me to Christ's love and his compassion for all of us. So thanks be to God for that."
"When it comes to Mary, I have a great devotion to Our Lady of Czestochowa. She sits in my room wherever I go; I bring her with me even when I travel. The image of her, she has a scar from when she was taken out of the church in Częstochowa and stabbed. They've tried to fix it and it always comes back - she chooses the scar, and I think that's beautiful. I think it shows her motherly care for her children: it's a bruised world, a scarred world and she wants to be right there with us. And yet still shows how our scars can be beautiful to the Lord. She's more than a role model, she's an intercessor and she really does show us the true and beautiful way to Christ."
"Mary is very important to me because she is my example and model, my best friend. She helped me to come closer to Jesus. My consecration to her, following the preparation of St Louis Maria de Montfort, really was instrumental in my conversion, so brought me to her Son and then helped reveal to me my vocation to a complete consecration to Him."
"I finally get it about the whole Mary thing."
Jill was a pilgrim to the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania
"The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania started out as a place with only a few crosses put there by Christians in Lithuania and then Russians came in and knocked all the crosses down. Then people replaced them and the Russians came back, and the people replaced them and finally the Russians gave up. To go there now and see every square inch covered with crosses, on an area about the size of a football field, is an objective testimony to love of God and the strength that God gives people under incredible circumstances."
"I recently was reading a book that is a collection of lectures Cardinal Avery Dulles gave at the seminary in Dunwoody about Pope John Paul II and his ministry. One segment he devoted to what he called John Paul II's Marian theology or mission and it was a wonderful section. Something that rang a bell with me was the section about Mary as a mediator, Mary as someone to whom you pray to ask God to help you or other people in difficult circumstances."
"The Blessed Mother is the Mother of God, she lives in the Divine Will, she was incarnate without original sin, she was a perfect spouse of the Holy Spirit and, because of her 'yes' to God, Jesus was able to become incarnate in her womb. She's the Ark of the New Covenant, she's the Queen of heaven and earth, men and angels, and, if people would listen to her and do what she said, we would have peace. What she said was: consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, lead the Church in first Saturday devotions and pray the rosary every day. And when we do that we don't have anything else to worry about. She means everything to me."
Father Jim Anderson is a priest of the Missionaries of Holy Apostolate of Cromwell, Connecticut.
"That's kind of the beauty of the faith is that it represents humanity, it's grounded in humanity, and Mary is kind of the anchor of that, she's the human mother of God. She's able to be conversed about, to be related to, and really just to be loved truly humanly, because she is human, she is one of us. So it gives me great hope because God came down and gave us access to Him through humanity and especially through Mary."
John is working on the ace initiative / video project 1 Billion Stories.
"That has been a tremendous grace in my life to feel that Our Lady, through the tragedy that she experienced in her life, can connect with the difficulties we have and give us the grace to persevere and to overcome. So Our Lady continues to be an inspiration and a great advocate in my life."
Father John McHale is COO at the Living Scripture Institute.
"I’m in love with the Blessed Virgin because she loves us so much and leads us to her son, who cares for us and wants us to go closer to her."
"Probably the most striking thing for me about Saint Peter the Apostle is he's a man who kept saying yes to the Lord, despite his weakness, despite whatever - how big or small the task was that Jesus was calling him to, he continued to say yes. And he didn't always do it perfect and the beautiful thing is that Jesus made up for the lack, he made up for the slack in Peter's life. And I think it was through that continual saying yes to the Lord that he became this great man of faith."
"Our Lady is very near and dear to my heart, and she is the one who I would say above all gave me the courage to answer the call to my vocation. And that occurred on a Marian pilgrimage about 11 years ago. I was praying very much for the Lord to make it clear to me what my vocation was … It was just the warmth of Our Lady's heart that really gave me the confidence that there was nothing to fear; that the Lord who loves us so much, when He calls us, He has only good in store for us. So it gave me the courage to say yes and to answer the call, and to once more commit my life and my vocation to Our Lady."
Brother John Mary is a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal.
"Mary is everything to me; she is my mother and I go to her for everything; I go to her in prayer, especially for help with my children and with my family."
"Our Blessed Mother is very important to me because since as far back as I remember my parents and grandparents instilled in my siblings and me a great love for praying the rosary. In the rosary I have found consolation and the ability to really live out the life of Christ in prayer. I like to begin and end my day with the rosary. If I can give anybody anything, I desire to give them a great love for saying the rosary."
Juan gives his algo acerca de María in English & Spanish.
"To me Mother Mary is the mother of all people and she is the kindest, most loving person who intercedes for us to God our Father and to her son Jesus Christ."
"Mary to me is many things, but mostly she is my mother. … As I’ve grown, my love for Mary has increased but it’s nothing compared to the love that she has for me. A few years ago I was blessed to go to the Holy Land and I was so overcome with beautiful emotion and really felt her presence and understood that, no matter what I've suffered, what she's suffered as the mother of my Saviour and being there at the foot of the Cross will always be my inspiration."
"Mary for me is an example of purity and I pray to her every day to help me to not only be pure in terms of chastity but to have a clean heart that’s just focused on God. And also she’s a source of comfort for me."
"I look at Mary and Mary had this perfect man in Joseph and she was perfect herself. And Joseph was just such a great man and I caught myself a few of weeks ago praying to Mary that I've got this wonderful man in my life and just trying to appeal to her on that level of watching over our relationship because she had found something so incredible and I've found something so incredible."
"In my daily life with Our Lord, I take Our Lady’s example of prayer and of just living with the Lord."
"I really appreciate the strength and beauty of Mary. I think a lot of times we look at Mary like this very humble woman, which she was, but she was also very strong. My favourite description of Mary that I've ever heard is in G.K. Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse and Our Lady appears to a man on the battlefield and he says 'Seven swords were in her heart but one was in her hand.' And I just love the strength that that portrays of Our Lady of Sorrows."
"Mary for me is a symbol of profound humility and profound love. And I think the most important thing for me is her willingness to accept what God wills without understanding it, without knowing what's ahead but saying yes. That's to me the best example that we shouldn't be afraid of what's ahead for us as long as we trust in the Lord."
"Mary is a symbol of all that is good and pure to me and her holiness is something that I use as inspiration."
"The Blessed Mother is absolutely breathtaking. I never realised how important she was to me until I heard the story of John Paul II and how he lost his mother and asked Our Blessed Mary to take him in and it was absolutely amazing. I know that I have a mother always there for me and I know I can always lean back on her and she will always be there for me. And she was so devoted to her son, it makes me believe she is just as devoted to me and it's absolutely beautiful."
"I think one of the biggest things I took away from the Camino was just a lot of love. I always knew love was important in life but I don't think I realised how important it was until I went on the Camino. The Camino is a very simple way of life, there's not a lot of money involved in it, there's not a lot of materialism at all in it, but those were such happy days because they were filled with love. And I think that I needed that to really show me that life isn't really anything unless you have someone to give love to and then to receive love from."
Laura's Word on the Street - 1 John 4:16
- God is Love and he who abides in God abides in love and God abides in him.
"It reminds me to address all those around me with love and compassion just as Christ would."
"I read St Louis de Montfort's book 'True Devotion to Mary' and realised that Mary is such a strong role model for women today and I really look to Mary as one of the greatest intercessors we have as Catholics. She is just so beautiful. As a young adult I find it difficult to watch the media and see women portrayed as just objects and seeing young girls looking up to these models and actresses who are not great role models. And yet we have this beautiful image of Mary, who just is such a wonderful, wonderful person who we can pray to and we can look at her life and see her sacrifice and her ability to say yes to God, which was just so amazing. We are just so blessed to have Mary."
"We are celebrating on this great feast day the great love that we have for our mother Mary, who is not only our mother spiritually, our mother in the Church but she’s also the Mother of God, as the Church has acknowledged in 431 at the Council of Ephesus. She is a great gift to us as we need her motherhood and her protection and her prayers and her intercession before her Son Jesus."
"And so you enter into these phases of these vocations and begin those times of discernment in a good, healthy, positive way. Again, it's important for us to have good people in our lives, influences around us, whether our parish priest, our family. It's important to be building up people versus tearing them down. So I encourage you to seek the people that build us up, that strengthen us in our walk with the Lord and as we continue to grow in the faith. I end this little talk here just in a way of encouragement to you, always to enter into it with prayer. In a special way I encourage you to ask the intercession of the Mother of God, as she is Queen of heaven and earth, she intercedes for us, she hears our prayers. Allow her to intercede for you but you must ask her to intercede in a special way."
Father Leo Fisher CFR is a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal currently based at their friary in Bradford, UK.
Lisette's Word on the Street - John 1:1
- In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God and the Word was God -
"It is about Jesus our Saviour being made incarnate, coming for our salvation and it proves and supports the Trinity, and just God's will for our salvation, and it demonstrates God's love for us."
"For me, as a convert to the faith, I often feel inhibited in loving Mary completely and I have to constantly remind myself that she is not a queen that is unapproachable, terrifyingly beautiful, but a queen that is maternal and one that understands the value of the hidden life that I find myself in, and an example of serving God in that humble and quiet place."
"Mary is my absolute ultimate mother. She has just always taken care of me when I’ve needed to be. One of my favorite prayers to her is ‘Cover me with your mantle’ and every time I do I completely feel at peace and cherished and loved with her."
"Mary to me is a like a support beam, especially when it comes to relationships and trying to keep that purity and chastity and she is really someone you can look up to in those kinds of situations."
"I stumbled upon the ceremony today [at St Peter’s Basilica] and I feel very honoured that I was here to witness Mary [Our Lady of Fatima]. It was a gorgeous day, the sun at one point came in and the crown, her jewels, were like shining and beaming light when the sun was coming in over the Basilica and it was gorgeous and I am so happy I was here. A once in a lifetime experience, I'm so grateful."
"I had a lot of scepticism and everything about coming to Medjugorje, and I feel I had a lot of obstacles to overcome and I had a lot of tragedies in my life, and I feel that the Blessed Mother put her hand on my shoulder and brought me here to Medugorje. It has been an eye-opener to see everybody with the Blessed Mother in their heart, and coming that so many miracles have taken place through the Blessed Mother."
"Mary has had a very big role in my life as the mother of Jesus Christ. She has always had a special place in my heart from when I was young but especially when I went into college I discovered a book written by St Louis de Montfort named 'True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin' which helped me to see the role that Mary plays in all of our lives, whether we know it or not, as she leads us all closer to her son Jesus. And so I'd have to say that definitely through the rosary but praying to her as my mother, as my sister and, one day God willing if I become a priest, as my spouse, Mary continues to spur me on to be more generous in love and to imitate her in leading people to her son Jesus."
"What Mary has been to me is always been my mother. I was certainly blessed growing up; the only approved Marian apparition in the US, about 15 minutes east of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and we used to go there for days of recollection .. I look back to those days and Mary leading me and guiding me even when I didn't know it, and probably in particular leading me to this vocation of the priesthood to follow her son in a very particular way."
"I’d like to thank Pope Benedict for all that he has done in the past 8 years as Pope. I think one of the most powerful things or ways that he has had an impact on me is actually with his resignation. It is such an act of humility and self-sacrifice, that he really is showing his love for the Church in a new way. I think I’ll remember him more fondly for this gift that he’s giving to the Church, but I also appreciate his work in the new evangelization and his promotion of that. He has just been such a blessing for the Church and I just hope we get another pope as wonderful as he is. So thank you, Pope Benedict. We love you."
"It’s just so nice to have a mother on earth but a mother in heaven just is so much more wonderful you can turn to for anything all the time. And you’re not always with your mother on earth but you’re always in the presence of your mother in heaven. And it’s such a grace to have Mary as a mother."
"My favourite quote is from Our Lady of Medjugorje when she says
'If you knew how much I loved you, you'd cry for joy.'"
"For me Our Lady is really the way that points us to Christ. Our salvation is brought to us through her. And so for me she is really a symbol of humanity and how we're all called to be bearers of Christ as she was."
"Our Lady is our mother and she provides everything when we need it, exactly how we need it, and in whatever way is most convenient for us to gain eternal life."
"I first came to encounter Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows .. I came to understand her at the Foot of the Cross and she showed me that in her intense suffering and her intense sorrow at the Foot of the Cross, through it all she was also Mother of hope .. As she accepted Jesus' body from the Cross, she prepared his body for the resurrection and she does the same for me and for all her children that she accepted at the foot of the Cross."
Sister Mary Pieta is a Franciscan Sister of the Renewal.
"We're very excited that Pope Francis, Papa Francesco, expressed his love for Our Lady by going to visit an image of Our Lady in Santa Maria Maggiore, going to pray in front of the ancient image of Salus Populi Romani, the 'health of the people of Rome'. It's an image that so many people have turned to in times of sickness in the city, in times of plague, and Our Lady has always come through for them. .. By being a child in front of Our Lady and really asking for her help, asking for her prayers in front of Our Lord, that’s the way to go in so many different problems that arise in our lives."
Matthew chose Josemaría Escrivá as his Incredible Saint
"The reason I admire St Josemaría Escrivá, look up to him so much, is because I encountered his writings when I was younger and he introduced me to Our Lord when I was still in school. What really attracted me was his message to look for holiness in the ordinary events of daily living. As a student that was like perfect, because I was involved in sports and family life and friends and school, and so it was like 'Oh, I'm called to be holy even though I'm doing all these other things too.'"
"I know that Mary looks out for me, she loves me and, especially the times when I forget her or might be ungrateful, she still gives abundantly with her love. That is why I feel drawn to her, that is why, even when I stray, I do want to come back to her embrace, because she is the all loving mother which each of her children need."
Matthew describes how Blessed John Paul II had a deep impact on his life
"I know without a doubt now, with hindsight, that John Paul II was there praying for me. Obviously he's a great intercessor for us in heaven and, without me even knowing, he was leading me across the world to find my home in Ireland where I now work with an evangelisation team. He always had a very special place in his heart for all people from all countries: he didn't see the divisions between them, he saw the beauty of each one."
"I wasn’t so very close to Mary before and going on this pilgrimage made me realise like just being able to trust her more and more, because she is our mother and she loves us so much and she wants to bring us to her our Lord Jesus. And her mantle, she just wraps you around. So this whole pilgrimage I've just been learning more about her and just to trust her more, and it's helped me to trust Jesus even more. So, trust."
"I notice here in Rome there are a lot of beautiful statues of the Blessed Mother and it's nice coming from New York seeing such special devotion to Our Lady because she brought Jesus into the world and she also brings us on that narrow road to heaven. That's always special to remember that, if she brought Jesus into the world that means she brings us into the world that God made for us."
"Mother Mary means to me eternal peace, a stillness, a calmness, someone to strive to be more like."
"The Blessed Virgin is of course the Mother of God and she is the way that we gain access to Jesus, she is our intercessor."
"Jesus Christ died on the Cross for us and Mary was there witnessing it. She was there at the time when he was in the most pain but he did that out of love and she knew that. She gave up her son because of love. If we can't have a devotion to our blessed Mary Mother, who can we have a devotion to?"
"When I was 17 I made the de Montfort consecration and I gave my entire life to God by surrendering it at the same time to the providential care, to the solicitude of Our Lady. And that consecration meant so much to me because, as I journeyed through life, there were many times I wanted to run from God and sometimes regrettably I actually did kind of run from God, because I was scared of what I would lose if I said yes to everything God wanted from me. But the one thing I could never do was run from that consecration I made; there was something about Mary, she was like my lady. In a sense, I mean I could run from God's will but I never wanted to shame her. I think obviously there I am not speaking as a theologian .. but from the heart, Mary kept me in God. My love for her as my lady and my queen was something I never wanted to leave behind and I think that that tender love is something that we can all discover. So that de Montfort consecration I made when I was 17, the total consecration of myself that John Paul II also made - Totus Tuus - well, that in many sense is the reason I am a priest today. Because, in the end, my love for her enabled me to even stand at the Cross next to her and to give my life with her and with Jesus for the salvation of souls. And I know that she can do the same for you."
3 2us on Saint Catherine Labouré
"That's what Our Lady told St Catherine: God wants to give even more than what you ask for. It's like plunging St Catherine on a spiritual path of desire, saying 'Do you really want to cooperate with God?' then desire for the rest of your life."
Father Nathan Cromley is a brother of the Community of St John. He has set up the Marian Faith Network - a website and community structure "to help young people who want to make and live out the total consecration to Jesus through Mary of St. Louis de Montfort to the fullest extent possible. Totus Tuus!"
"As part of living in Europe, I got the opportunity to go on pilgrimage to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and I think what blew me away the most was getting to pray at the tomb of Blessed John Paul II. My conversion happened in High School when I was about 17 years old, just about a year after he had died, but through the years learning all that he did and his work for the new evangelization and in particular for the youth of the world, I never really realised what an impact he’d had on me until I was there praying at his tomb. I just had this great sense that he had really fathered me in my faith through all the work that he had done for the youth in the Church. So it was a really blessed experience and a highlight of my pilgrimage, for sure."
"Our Blessed Mother is to me the most loving mother that anyone could ever have, the most perfect mother who wants the best for her children. Because she wants the best for her children, she brings us to Jesus in the quickest way possible. She wants everything for us and so she leads us and makes sure that we are on the quickest and surest path to holiness and to heaven. She holds us in her heart and in her mantle."
"I think about Mary when I say the rosary and I think she does intercede for us and I think it's good to have a personal relationship with her and I think of her as like a mother."
"Mary to me is a wonderful role model of being a mother and I have the privilege and blessing of having 4 children, so I look to Mary for her guidance and role model."
"Confession is fantastic because I feel, given our human state of imperfection, it’s an invitation from Christ for us to come back and reconcile with Him and to his will."
Father Peter CSJ
3 2us on St Thomas Aquinas
"Love for Christ pushed Thomas Aquinas to devote a tremendous amount of energy to the search for truth, to contemplating the truth and to teaching the truth. He consecrated his intellectual gifts to God and so he's a great model for us of the sanctified mind. His aim was to let himself be taught by God and so he was humble enough to be formed at the school of the pagan philosopher, Aristotle, because he understood that everything that's true, whoever may say it, is from the Holy Spirit."
Father Peter Pitre is in the Community of St John, currently based in Canning Town, London.
- 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.”