I was interviewed on  the radio and the interviewer suggested that I close the interview with a certain phrase and the words though appropriate just stuck in my throat. So I adlibbed and I just ended it “Our Lady of Mount Carmel Pray for Us.” And as they  say in poems, that made all the difference in the world to me.

For many of us graduates of Carmelite education this has meaning that you just can’t explain. And you can expand this thinking to so many boys from Catholic Education who were taught an absolute devotion to Mary.

That may sound kind of silly to many today, but it is a fact. A boy who graduated from my high school, Mount Carmel, in Chicago, who does not feel something special with such words must have been a “pretender” or a “fraud.”  Boys all over the United States in Catholic Schools often have an opportunity to devote themselves to Mary and that is more than special. It is cleansing and simple and can bring us closer to everything else worthwhile and good–i.e., Jesus.

At Carmel, when you said the words “Our Lady of Mount Carmel Pray for Us” it was a manly thing to say and it would remain that way forever chiseled in your brain. It would be said at pep rallies, in classrooms, at Mass, and most everywhere. It would be said when we were being hopeful, it would be said in disappointing times and tragic times. It was a rally cry without a gimmick.

Of course, the devotion to Mary is not something limited to those of us who were educated at Carmelite Schools. I can remember the Dominican nuns teaching us Immaculate Mary and that song echoing downs the halls and out onto the street at Saint Cajetan Grade School. At my Benedictine College these days they have something called the Memorare Army.

You can see it on national TV at the Notre Dame home games when the Alma Mater is sung.

Sure there are nonbelievers in the midst of all this devotion, but the devotion is there nonetheless in the midst of today’s world.

 

Here’s a poem by Patrick McCaskey that call out to this devotion. This is in our Poems About the Gospel book.

 

Jesus on the Cross Gave Us His Mother

 

John 19:25-27

 

When we call out signals and our voice cracks,

When we dribble down court and punt the ball,

When we’re late for practice because of JUG,

Let us remember, we have God’s Mother.

 

When we lose a close game to a rival,

When we are not heard at a pep rally,

When we are cut from the sophomore team,

Let us remember, we have God’s Mother.

 

When we don’t pass the football physical,

When we nearly drown at swimming practice,

When we run track like a football player,

Let us remember, we have God’s Mother.

 

When we make All-Area quarterback,

Let us remember, to thank God’s Mother.

 

Patrick McCaskey

 

Patrick McCaskey is a Vice President and Director of the Chicago Bears, Chair of Sports Faith International, and Chair of WSFI Catholic Radio 88.5, as well as poet and the author of our Sports and Faith Series. He is also a grandson of George “Papa Bear” Halas. Surprising, inspiring, and all very human, Patrick McCaskey’s Poems About the Gospel is a book for all seasons where readers can find a few words of encouragement in every poem. Poems About the Gospel is available from Sporting Chance PressAmazon and select bookstores like the Little Way in Crystal Lake.

Image: The Nativity, Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

Copyright 2020, Sporting Chance Press