Blue Jays Revisit Miraculous Moments for Feast of Immaculate Conception
On Monday, Dec. 9, students, faculty, and staff gathered for Mass in the Chapel of the North American Martyrs to celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the school’s patroness. Students dressed in coat and tie to celebrate the occasion.
Mass was celebrated by Fr. Kevin Dyer, S.J. (chaplain). Concelebrating priests were Fr. Christopher Fronk, S.J., Fr. Donald Saunders, S.J., Fr. Paul Shaughnessy, S.J., Fr. John Brown, S.J., and Fr. David Paternostro, S.J.
In his homily, Fr. Dyer emphasized that “our world is filled with things that are difficult to wrap our minds around.” In order to back up his claim, the school chaplain told the story of one of those difficult things — the miracle of pilgrim John Traynor in Lourdes, France. Lourdes, Fr. Dyer explained, was the place that Mary appeared to St. Bernadette and said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”
John Traynor was a miracle because, by all the laws of nature, he should not have ever been a healthy man. He was wounded in the head and chest, and one bullet went through his upper right arm and lodged under his collarbone. As a result of these wounds, Traynor’s right arm was paralyzed and the muscles atrophied. His legs were partially paralyzed, and he was epileptic, sometimes having as many as three fits a day. By 1916, Traynor had undergone four operations in an attempt to connect the severed muscles of this right arm. All four operations ended in failure. By this time he had been discharged from the service. He was given a one hundred percent pension because he was completely and permanently disabled. John Traynor should have been, if alive at all, paralyzed, epileptic, a mass of sores, shrunken, with a shriveled, useless right arm and a gaping hole in his skull. That is what he had been. That is the way medical science had certified that he must remain. Only a miracle could cure him, and a miracle did.
After telling this miraculous story, Fr. Dyer inspired Blue Jays even further, saying, “At Jesuit High School, we want guys who are talented, hard-working and smart, but even more, we want men who are well-disposed in the things of God. Much greater is the trust you have that God is in control of this world…that this world is much stranger than it seems at first shot. Pray to our Blessed Mother, and have her lead you to the truth.”
When the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) established a new high school in New Orleans on Dec. 8, 1847, they placed it under the special protection of our Blessed Mother. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates Mary’s conception free of original sin. During Advent, may she who was conceived without sin continue to guide all members of the Blue Jay family into that life of Christ’s grace which bring joy to the hearts of all. May she, as Fr. Dyer mentioned in the final line of his homily, continue to lead us to the truth.