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Archbishop Smith: Never Was It Known

13 August 2018

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

One of the Church’s most beloved and frequently offered prayers to Our Lady is the Memorare. I pray it often. It begins, “Remember O most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored they help or sought thy intercession was left unaided….”

This prayer comes to mind as the Archdiocese of Edmonton prepares to celebrate this week a remarkable anniversary. On Tuesday, the Vigil of the Assumption, thousands of pilgrims will gather at Skaro, Alberta, for confessions and an outdoor mass at a grotto dedicated to Mary. This 2018 gathering is the 100th time that the pilgrimage will have taken place.

Our own Grandin Media recently published an article telling the Skaro story. As I read it, I found myself wondering what inspired those first pioneers 100 years ago to build the grotto. Indeed, what has animated the thousands of pilgrims who have visited the site since it was first constructed?

The answer, I suggest, is found in the people’s steadfast confidence in the assistance they would assuredly receive from the Mother of the Saviour. The lives of those first pioneers were not without hardship, to say the least. They knew they could always turn to Mary for the help of her prayers and rest assured in her maternal love. Wanting a way to give visible expression to their reliance upon the Mother of God, they built the grotto. Ever since then, their ancestors, together with the people of this Archdiocese and beyond, have come each year to this place made holy by the faith and prayers of God’s people.

This confident reliance upon Mary finds expression in four words, simple yet bold, of the Memorare: “Never was it known.” Mary has been given to us by her son to be our mother, too. She loves us with a tender maternal love. Unequalled in the power of her intercession, she always comes to our help and will never leave us unaided. “Never was it known.”

What has you worried right now? What fear or burden is weighing upon you? Do you find yourself in a difficult situation that seems simply impossible to resolve? I invite you to Skaro this week. If distance is an obstacle, make the pilgrimage in your heart and place whatever troubles you under her mantle. Do this with serene confidence, because “never was it known” that Mary would leave her children without the help that she is uniquely qualified to give.