Tim Yanni, who is a postulant assigned to St. Mary's, gave the sermon today. Today is the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Mary, and since we are her namesake church, we honored her by having our services revolve around that holy day.
During the sermon, he said that Bishop Hayashi encourages the postulants to tell some more personal beliefs of theirs to their peers and to their congregations. He told us that he used to be Roman Catholic. Growing up, he said many Marian Prayers, or prayers aimed toward Mary, the mother of Jesus. He said that he has found that these beliefs are embedded in him - they are his true beliefs at his core - he encouraged us, the congregation, to examine our own deeply held beliefs. He said that we wouldn't have an answer at the end of our lives, but that it will take a lifetime of reviewing to find them all.
He explained that the reason people pray to Mary is for intercession, since she is the mother of God. He said that we ask her to pray for us the same way that we would ask a family member to pray for us.
At the end of his sermon, he said that he will continue with his prayers to St. Mary because they are important to him, though he wouldn't ever insist that anyone else believe the same way or practice the same way as he does. (at that point, Matt jabbed me (gently) in the ribs with his elbow. ;) )The final piece was asking all who would like to and knew the prayer, to help him pray the Hail Mary prayer. After the congregation had finished, I was so choked up that I couldn't say the Nicene Creed for a space of time. This is the prayer:
Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.Amen.