Fr. Edward Looney is a popular Catholic writer and speaker on the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially about the approved 1859 apparition of Mary in Wisconsin. He is the author of the best-selling rosary devotional A Rosary Litany and his forthcoming release A Heart Like Mary’s.
My first priestly assignment was at a parish right across the street from the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. Each day at 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. their bells rang signaling to me that it was time to pray the Angelus.
Blessed Paul VI best describes the reasons why I love the Angelus.
In his 1974 exhortation Marialis Cultus, Paul VI referenced two forms of Marian piety: the Angelus and the rosary. He described the Angelus as a prayer with a biblical character, with historical origins linking it to prayers for peace and safety, and its “quasi-liturgical rhythm which sanctifies different moments during the day” (paragraph 41). He adequately states why I appreciate the Angelus.
Many people find the Rosary challenging, especially as a beginning point for Marian devotion. The Angelus, in its simplicity, is an excellent way to cultivate and foster a devotion to Mary. When I was a student at Mundelein Seminary, a few of us were the force behind instituting the daily Angelus in the refectory at noon, instilling within the hearts of future priests a devotion to Mary.
I most especially love the fact the Angelus allows us to recall Mary’s role in the incarnation. As I pray those words, “The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary” and “Behold the handmaid of the Lord,” I am praying with Mary and I hope that her response might be my response too.