Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual help
Background/History of the Devotion of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Denver
The Redemptorist Denver Province was formed in 1996 by merging the former Oakland and St. Louis Provinces, and in 2004 the New Orleans Vice Province joined the Province as well. Our province has and continues to promote devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. It was in our Province where the Perpetual Novena, a weekly Tuesday devotion began at St. Alphonsus “Rock” Church on July 11, 1922. “From the church of St. Alphonsus, in the city of St. Louis, MO, in the United States of America this devotion would spread throughout the world” (Ferrero, Story of an Icon). Today this proud legacy continues as we continue to “Make Her Known” through social media with our official Facebook page reaching 5.8 million faithful. The Redemptorists of the Denver Province, through the celebration of the Jubilee year and remembering the missionary zeal of our confreres in the past rededicate ourselves to promoting devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
Here are some of the early historical highlights of the history of the Icon in our Province:
In 1870 six Mother of Perpetual Help icons were touched to the original in Rome and were the first to be brought to the Western Hemisphere. One of those six was placed in a shrine at St. Michael’s Church in Old Town, Chicago, IL which has been a Redemptorist Parish since 1860. It is stated in their house annals:
“1870: The same day December 8th, being the feast of the Immaculate Conception, in the evening was the grand Ceremony of the first exposition & blessing by R.P. Zimmer, Superior of the house assisted by all the fathers, of the miraculous picture of the Blessed Virgin of the perpetual succor together with the new altar. The sermon on this occasion was preached by R.P. Bollman. The whole church was actually packed; 5000 bearers were calculated.”
1874 Copy of the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help arrives from Rome in New Orleans St. Alphonsus Church.
1878 December 3, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Kansas City, MO was the first Redemptorist foundation in the Saint Louis Province named in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The Icon number 546 in the present house chapel was signed by Nicholas Mauron, Rector Major (1855-1893), and was blessed by Pope Pius IX. It was solemnly enshrined on May 4, 1879.
1879 May 11, Special services in honor of OMPH at OLPH Kansas City, MO. Copy of the Icon, blessed by Pope Leo XII, was borne in solemn procession… and hung in the church.
1888, June 17 first public novena honoring OMPH conducted at Holy Redeemer, Detroit by Father Louis Cook, C.Ss.R.
1891 A Triduum was held at St. Michael’s Chicago to commemorate silver jubilee of the restoration of the Icon in Rome.
1891, July 19 shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help erected at St. Alphonsus in Chicago the “picture was blessed by the Holy Father himself”.
1891, December 6, A Triduum was held in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at St. Alphonsus Grand Rapids.
1892, August 21 Icon of Perpetual Help from Rome placed in new side-altar at St. Alphonsus Grand Rapids.
1895, May – A Triduum in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at St. Joseph’s Denver, CO.
1911 October 5, A solemn unveiling of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Icon took place at Holy Redeemer, Portland, OR.
1916 June 17, Father Joseph Chapoton, C.Ss.R. preached the first Solemn Novena at the Rock for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Feast Day and 100th anniversary, devotions continued after this on first Sunday of each month.
1916 Sunday devotions began at St. Michael Chicago
1918 Perpetual Help Devotions introduced at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Kansas City, MO by Rev. William Graham, C.Ss.R.
1922 June 9, shrine at the St. Alphonsus “Rock” rebuilt and rededicated.
1922 July 11, Tuesday Novena devotions in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help were begun at St. Alphonsus “Rock” Church.
1924- At the Rock Church, Father Henry Sutton began novenas in which people participated through singing, praying with the priest, etc. rather than remaining silent while the priests prayed. This devotional style spread throughout the congregation.
1926 Sept. 2, Father John Andrew Miller introduced the Tuesday novena at St. Alphonsus in Chicago.
1927 “Perpetual Novena” began 9 Tuesdays in a row linked together as ‘novena’ (idea developed by Father Frank Fitzgerald in New Orleans) with crowds of 20-30,000.
1928 “Perpetual Novena” began at Rock begun by Father Henry Sutton now grows to 11 services every Tuesday to accommodate 15,000 people.
1928 PH magazine begun in Sacred Heart community Seattle, WA, published until 1969, at one point circulation was 200,000.
1928 Tuesday devotions began at St. Michael Chicago.
1920’s and 1930’s- Novenas were so popular had 4-5 services each Tuesday at OLPH Kansas City, Sacred Heart Seattle, St. Alphonsus Chicago, Rock St. Louis, St. Alphonsus New Orleans.
1929, December 8, Tuesday novena devotions were begun Tuesdays at St. Alphonsus Grand Rapids
Plans/Programs for the 150th Jubilee of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Denver
Phase 1: January 2015 – December 2015: “Strengthening and nurturing our love for the Mother of God”" - Preparation
The Redemptorists of the Denver Province are taking this year of preparation as a time to renew our own personal and corporate devotion to the Mother of God. We are taking time through various resources to see her as a model and helper. We are striving, through this preparation year, to relate to her as a mother with all the love and veneration we owe her as sons.
In preparation for the Jubilee celebration, the Provincial has strongly recommended to each confrere of the Province, by letter, to attend one of the North American Spirituality Commission’s Retreats on the Icon as part of our personal preparation for the Jubilee. These retreats, “The Icon as a Mirror of Redemptive Love” are being lead by our own Brother Dan Korn. These retreats, specifically given for Redemptorists, are to help the members of the province to learn to “read” the Icon, “pray” with the Icon, “reflect” with the Icon and “proclaim the message of Plentiful Redemption” contained within the miraculous Icon of Perpetual Help.
A commemorative Calendar is being made for the year 2016 which will be distributed to each confrere and to special lay associates. This Calendar will feature 12 of the Shrines in our parish Churches in the Province and will have historical notes for various days about the novena, devotions and special historical dates relating to Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
A special web site has been made for “Redemptorists Only” which contains special resources: media/visual prayer services, written prayer services, all the information received from Rome, articles and resources on Perpetual Help, and links to Liguori Publications which includes resources available in English and Spanish.
A Jubilee Icon was ordered from Rome to be used at our Province Celebration and then sent to every ministerial site in 2016 and 2017 as our “Missionary Icon.” The Icon arrived on Tuesday April 7, 2015 in Denver. The Icon will be sent to St. Louis in late April to be venerated by the Redemptoristine Nuns, who will begin the Jubilee year by praying before the Icon.
A New Book, “Embracing the Icon of Love” is being Published by Liguori Publications, written by our own Brother Dan Korn, C.Ss.R. It will be available May 1, 2015.
Through our internal newsletter, The denverlink, each community of the Province is sharing historical information about the Icon in their church or house chapel.
The denverlink is also featuring an information article once a month “Icon Notes” that are small articles about the Icon and its meaning and significance.
The official opening of our Provincial Jubilee celebrations will be Sunday April 26, 2015, by a proclamation opening the year by our Provincial Superior.
Phase II. 2016: Our Mother of Perpetual Help – “Icon of Love” – Celebration
As part of the Jubilee celebration, our various parishes will begin to rekindle the weekly novenas as a special moment for explicit evangelization. Having studied and deepened our own personal commitment to the Mother of God, we will begin to work at reinvigorating the weekly novenas at all of our parishes.
Special Triduums and preached events will take place in several of our parishes, as well as non-Redemptorist parishes in preparation for the main Jubilee celebration.
A Province Jubilee Eucharistic Celebration will take place Monday June 27, 2016 at St. Alphonsus “Rock” Church in St. Louis. The Most Rev. Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Indianapolis, will preside. Archbishop Tobin is a member of the Denver Province. Msgr. Mark Rivituso, J.C.L., Vicar General of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and the Very Rev. Stephen Rehrauer, C.Ss.R., provincial superior, will be the principal Concelebrants. The Mass will be telecast to every ministerial site in the province. Each ministerial site will have a procession and special viewing of the Provincial Celebration.
Following the Jubilee celebration, the “Jubilee Icon” will begin a missionary journey throughout the entire Denver Province. She will visit every ministerial site in the Denver Province – with special invitations to the faithful around our churches as well.
In October of 2016, the Denver Province will host the first Training Workshop for Redemptorists “How to Preach Plentiful Redemption through the Icon of Perpetual Help.” This workshop, for Redemptorists, will focus on how to create a new preaching format using the Icon of Perpetual Help as a means to focus on the Paschal Mystery, as well as the “Good News” contained within the Icon.
Phase III. 2016-2017 A renewal of “Make her known”
“Let them be generous in fostering devotion, especially of a liturgical nature, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and celebrate her feasts with special fervor.”
The Redemptorists of the Denver Province will have a celebration of the Icon in every ministerial site of the Province, with a special visit from the “Jubilee Icon” that was used in St. Louis, MO. These visitations will be a time for spiritual renewal for the faithful and will hopefully have a preached event attached to them. We will also try to make it a time of invitation to the entire (Arch)diocese to join in our effort in making her known.
New Perpetual Help Mission teams will be formed in the Province to begin a new mission format. These Redemptorists will be trained and ready to begin preaching by January of 2017.
The Province will continue to explore new ways through social media, learning from what has taken place in the Jubilee Year and extending forward all of the graces and joy experienced during this special year. We will work to foster and create a “virtual community” of the faithful and find new ways to preach Plentiful Redemption through our various social media outlets.
The Province will foster and strengthen the Archconfraternity of Perpetual Help.
Photos and Videos of the Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Denver
©2014 Redemptorist General Commission of the 150th Jubilee of the Icon, All rights reserved.