BEHOLD THY CHILDREN, MAMA AFRICA
People will never cease to praise you,
as they recall the power of the Lord for ever.
Origin: North Africa, the land of Saints Monica, Augustine, among others, as part of Roman Empire began to become Christian in the 3rd century under Emperor Constantine. It remained Christian until the Arab invasions in later centuries. The French re-established themselves early in the 19th century.
The first bishop, Bishop Dupuch found it impossible to build a church because the local population was hostile to the French. He went back to France for assistance. The Sodality of Our Lady in Lyon offered to the bishop a bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception with the understanding that she would be the Protectress of both the Mohammedans and the natives. It was brought from France in 1840 and was entrusted to the Cistercian monks of Staueli. Later, Cardinal Lavigiers, founder of the White Sisters, enshrined it in the new basilica at Algiers, where in 1876 the image was crowned. This bronze statue, very dark in colour, is known as Our Lady of Africa.
Pilgrims began to come to venerate the image where the lame, the blind, and the crippled were miraculously healed, and sailors came also to beg for protection of their long and perilous voyages. At this and other North African shrines the veneration given to Mary by Mohammedans is very marked. This feast commemorates the crowning of the Algiers statue.
Lord, as we honour the glorious memory of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Africa,
we ask that by the help of her prayers
we too may come to share the fullness of your grace
and live in harmony and peace as one family.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
(one) God, for ever and ever. Amen!
First reading Acts 1:12-14
After Jesus was taken up into heaven the apostles went back from the Mount of Olives, as it is called, to Jerusalem, a short distance away, no more than a sabbath walk; and when they reached the city they went to the upper room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James. All these joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Responsorial Psalm Luke 1:46-55
R. The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy is his name!
My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour. R.
He looks on his servant in her nothingness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name! R.
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted. R.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty. R.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons for ever. R.
Gospel Acclamation cf.Lk1:28
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!
Blessed art thou among women.
Gospel Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.
Prayer over the Offerings
Father, receive with this offering the prayers of your people,
so that, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Africa,
we may seek to be faithful to Christ,
announce his word to others
and live as brothers and sisters in your family.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!
The Lord, who has done great things for you, is your praise and your God.
Prayer after Communion
Father, we have received this heavenly Sacrament and now we pray
that we, who honour the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Africa,
may come to share in the eternal banquet in heaven with all the saints. Through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Commentary (We say this special prayer instead)
Pray to Our Lady, Mother of Africa
Our Lady of Africa,
in whose maternal and immaculate heart
the whole human race finds refuge,
look with favour upon the Muslims,
who honour you as the mother of Jesus
and the most blessed among women.
Obtain for them the grace to seek
the fullness of Light and Truth,
until we may all share, as one people of God,
the revelation of His infinite Love for all men,
made manifest in the sacrifice of His only Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
And since you are the Mother of the Church,
preserve the local Churches of Africa
as true and fruitful Messengers of the Word,
proclaiming it always, in perfect communion
with the universal Church under Peter.
Obtain for them and for our Society
an increase of dedicated workers.
Sharpen our vision to discern
and our resolve to respond
to new and pressing apostolic needs.
Help us, O Lady and Queen of Africa,
to be effective witnesses to the Gospel.
Thus may we come to be worthy of our calling
and, as the Most Holy Name of God,
Father, Son and Spirit,
was glorified in you, O Mary,
so it may be in us, forever and ever. Amen!
O Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of Christians, Mother of the Church and Mother of Africa, intercede for your children scattered over the African landscape and beyond who pass through hunger, oppressive governments, hate for Christianity, terrorist herdsmen, Boko Haram, trafficking and all forms of evil. O Mama Africa, your children have fled their homes and living in unsafe IDPs all over the world. Pray to Jesus your Son again for us and may we go with the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!