This title of honour- Our Lady of Perpetual Succour or Our Lady of Perpetual Help-is given to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The holy icon that bears this name has been in Rome since at least 1499, but is probably older than that. In 1865, Pius IX entrusted the care of the holy Icon to the Redemptorist Congregation of Priests. Through their missionary work around the world, the holy icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help became popular. The original icon permanently displayed in the Church of St. Alphonsus Ligouri in Rome, which is a church still staffed and kept by the Redemptorists.
In 1950, Pope Pius XII accepted the request of Bishop Fox, the Bishop f Wilcannia-Forbes at the time, and declared the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, as Patroness of the Diocese. Today, a replica of the holy icon is in most churches in our Diocese. Many families also have a copy of the icon in their homes. The parish church in Warren has a magnificent mosaic of the full figure of our Lady of Perpetual Help. In the Forbes church there is an authentic icon on the left wall.
When we read the holy icon, it shows four holy figures on a gold background: the Virgin mother of God, the Christ Child and the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. Mary is shown looking away from her Son to ourselves, ready to help us in time of need. Mary, by her hand, is showing her Son to us, directing us to Jesus the Word who liberates us through his suffering and death. Mary is the faithful disciple, ever open to the Word of God in her life. a legendary interpretation is that Jesus, safe in his mother’s arms, loses his sandal as he trembles before the symbols of his Passion
On one side is the Archangel Michael holding a spear and a hyssop stick with a sponge on it. on the other, the Archangel Gabriel holds the Cross, which is in a form often depicted in the Eastern Churches. The lettering, which is a form of Greek, identifies each person in the icon.
The feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in our Diocese is June 27. It has the ranking of a Solemnity, the highest rank of feast days.
Prayer to Our Lady of
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, we reach out to you.You are full of grace and all generations call you blessed;The Almighty has done great things for you.And so we bless you, and praise the Lord our God.In love, you brought forth our Saviour, Jesus Christ. You sheltered him in exile,Encourage his prophetic ministry, And witnessed his death and resurrection.At the cross, your Son affirmed your universal motherhood. Now we come as your children who face so many challenges and difficulties; we know you hold our needs in your heart. May you share our troubles with your Son as you love, shelter and encourage us. From your fullness in Heaven,Watch over us, care for us and inspire us. Our Lady of Perpetual Help pray for us.
Imprimatur Most Rev. +Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE DD
Bishop of Wilcannia-Forbes