In Catholic devotion, August is the month devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
During August, we celebrate the feast days of some Saints who had beautiful devotions to Immaculate Mary – such as St. Dominic and St. Maximilian Kolbe, among others.
We also encounter some of the best Marian feast days – the Assumption of Mary, and the feast of her Queenship.
It’s only fitting that this August, our entire Trivia theme is devoted to her.
Are you ready to test your knowledge about Immaculate Mary, our mother and our queen?
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Time to play Catholic Trivia: Immaculate Mary
Let’s begin our Catholic Trivia game!
It’s time to test your knowledge with 10 questions about Mary. How many can you get right?
When you’re done, remember to scroll aaaaaall the way down for in-depth answers, to help you learn and grow in your knowledge of the Catholic Faith!
Part 1: Name that Apparition
1. At what apparition did Mary identify herself: “I am the Immaculate Conception”?
Bernadette was a young girl who was poorly Catechized in her faith. She had little schooling, but a strong lived faith in the domestic church of her family.
When Mary first appeared to Bernadette, she didn’t tell Bernadette who she was. However, Bernadette’s local priest insisted she find out the lady’s name.
Bernadette asked the Lady her name and after joining her hands at the breast and looking up to heaven she said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”– The Apparition at Lourdes
Bernadette had no prior awareness of this teaching.
“The dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been defined by Pope Pius IX just four years before Bernadette’s visions.”– 10 Things to Know About Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette
The fact that Our Lady appeared to a young, uncatechized girl, to reaffirm the teaching of the Immaculate Conception is so touching!
2. At what apparition did Mary promise, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will Triumph”?
At Fatima, Mary appeared to three young children: Jacinta, Francisco, and Lucia.
She appeared to them for a total of 6 times, on the 13th day of a series of consecutive months.
Throughout the course of the apparitions, Mary gave the children a series of prophecies, and made several requests.
Among these, at one point she showed the children a vision of hell and the many people who suffer there.
She said to the children,
“You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will beak out during the pontificate of Pius XI… To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”– EWTN
That promise of hers, “My Immaculate Heart will Triumph,” gives us hope as we wade through the culture of today’s society.
She also gave them this prayer:
“O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fire of Hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need”
which we pray after each decade of the Rosary.
3. At what apparition did Mary request a medal to be made and worn which included, along with other elements of design, her Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart?
A: Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal: Catherine Laboure
St. Catherine Laboure was a religious sister belonging to the order: the Daughters of Charity. She lived in France at a time of war.
Our Lady appeared to her, to give her a message and graces for the people of France at this time – that would have lasting devotion throughout the entire Church.
During one of these apparitions, Mary appeared to Catherine Laboure, showing her the image for what we now call the Miraculous medal, requesting
Have a medal struck after this model. All who wear it will receive great graces; it should be worn around the neck. Great graces will be given to those who wear it with confidence.– EWTN
On the front of the Medal is an image of Mary with her arms outstretched, surrounded by the words, “Oh Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.”
On the back is the image of an M with a Cross, surrounded by 12 stars, and the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts underneath.
The Miraculous Medal quickly gained widespread popularity in France, and is now a beloved Catholic sacramental worldwide.
Part 2: Name that Feast Day:
4. On December 8, we celebrate Mary, conceived without sin. What is the name of that feast day?
A: Immaculate Conception
When the Angel Gabriel greeted Mary in the Gospel of Luke, he called her “Full of Grace.” But just how full is full?
Throughout the years, the Church has grown in understanding of the great gift of Salvation bestowed on Mary by Christ. In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed Mary to be immaculately conceived – free from sin from the first moment of her conception.
She did not even have the stain of original sin that all humans are born with.
Mary was as full of grace as humanly possible.
5. 19 and 20 Days after Pentecost, we celebrate a pair of special feast days honoring the love of Jesus and Mary. Name those feast days.
A: Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart
Jesus’ love for us is infinite. It’s so strong, we can’t even imagine what it would be like to love that much.
“He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, ‘is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that… love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings’ without exception.” (CCC 478).
Mary’s love for us reflects Jesus’ love.
She was the one chosen to love the Savior as her own son. She loved him both with a mother’s love, and with the love of adoration for her God. On the Cross, Jesus gave us his mother, to love us with her immense , beautiful, and Immaculate heart.
The hearts of Jesus and Mary are so united, they are celebrated consecutively every year, to symbolize the fact that nothing comes between them or separates them.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart is placed 19 days after the feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart immediately follows that.
6. On August 15, we celebrate the fact that Mary was taken to heaven body and soul, due to her Immaculate (sinless) nature. What is the name of that feast day?
A: The Assumption of Mary.
The Church teaches that Mary went to Heaven, body and soul, at the end of her life. Unlike Jesus, who ascended into heaven by his own power, Mary didn’t ascend, but was “assumed” – or taken up.
The Catechism says, “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the Resurrection of other Christians.” (CCC 966).
Another more ancient name for the Assumption is the “Dormition” which means falling asleep. Sleep is a common metaphor for death, so the name is somewhat ambiguous.
Though the Church has dogmatically defined the Assumption, it’s hasn’t definitively said whether Mary died first. The overwhelming majority (including Church Fathers) hold the opinion that Mary did in fact die before being assumed into Heaven. However, especially more recently, more Catholics are adopting the opinion that Mary simply fell into a deep sleep and did not die.
Both opinions are allowed to be held among Catholics.
Part 3: Name that Marian Title
7. What’s the title of Mary that highlights her role in Salvation as prophesied in the Protoevangelium?
A: The New Eve
Right from the very beginning, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and fell out of grace and favor with him, God let them know he would not abandon them.
Even as he cast them out of the Garden of Eden for their sinfulness, he promised them a Savior who would redeem them from their sins.
In God’s words to the serpent, he says,
And I will put enmity– Bible Gateway
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel
“This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium (“first Gospel”): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendent of hers” (CCC 410).
Christ is the promised redeemer, the New Adam who makes right the wrong done by the original Adam.
“Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the mother of Christ, the “new Eve” (CCC 411).
As evidenced in the title, “Immaculate Conception,” Mary was the first to receive the effects of Christ’s Redeeming grace, and she received those graces in a unique way: being preserved from sin from the moment of her conception.
8. What’s the title of Mary that highlights her role as the channel of all graces to mankind?
For some, this teaching can be tough to accept.
The objection may be: all grace comes through Jesus! Mary is not divine. To say we get all grace from her is to put her on the same level of God.
Let’s dispel this misunderstanding.
There are two aspects to know about Mary’s mediation of grace.
“On the first level of mediation, Mary freely co-operated with God in consenting to the incarnation, giving birth to her son and thus sharing with him in spirit the labors of his passion and death”– Modern Catholic Dictionary
Mary physically brought Christ into the world. His body was formed within her womb.
As his mother, she was the person God chose to deliver (literally!) his Son to the rest of humanity.
Catholics recognize that Christ alone offered the sacrifice that redeems us and brings us salvation. But Mary is the one who gave Jesus the body in which he suffered his passion.
“On the second stage of mediation, Mary cooperates by her maternal intercession in applying Christ’s redemptive grace to human beings, called the subjective redemption.”– Modern Catholic Dictionary
Think back to Jesus’ words on the Cross: he gave Mary to John, and to all of humanity, to be our mother. He wanted to share the gift of her love and intercession with us.
I can only imagine how fervently Mary prayed as she raised Jesus, mothered him, taught him, and watched him leave her side for his public ministry.
I can only imagine God’s great love for the prayers of mothers – and especially his own mother.
And Jesus chose to share that with us.
To be clear, that doesn’t mean that Mary’s intercession was absolutely necessary for us to receive salvation in the first place, but just that Christ wished it to be this way as a special gift to us.
Again: all grace comes from Jesus, our salvation and atonement for our sins being obtained by his sacrifice on the Cross.
But Mary is the Mediatrix of the grace, having brought him into the world, and having been given to humanity to intercede for us as our Mother, as a special gift from Christ.
9. What’s the title of Mary that means “the All-Holy,” celebrating the fact that Mary remained free of personal sin her entire life?
Mary was conceived without original sin, and remained free of all personal sin her entire life.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that “The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God ‘the All-Holy’ (Panagia) and celebrate her as ‘free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.’” (CCC 493).
10. What’s the title of Mary that means “God bearer,” celebrating the hypostatic union of Christ.
Theotokos means “God bearer.”
This title may seem self-evident at first, but it’s a very important title of Mary that clears up some confusion.
Some may try to argue that Mary is only the mother of Christ’s humanity. However, This viewpoint creates a separation between Christ’s human and divine natures.
The teaching of the hypostatic union reveals that the divine and human natures of Jesus are united in one person. “The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man.” (CCC 469).
So, if Mary is the Mother of Jesus, she is the mother of him as an entire person. This doesn’t imply that she bestows his divine nature on him, but it reaffirms that the human and divine natures are united in him.
“For this reason the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the Mother of God by the human conception of the Son of God in her womb” (CCC 466).
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