According to ANS (Ronda), the Salesian Info Service, last month (August 2010) Michelle Obama, the wife of President Barack Obama, visited Spain with her their oldest daughter Sasha. During her stay in the Salesian house in Ronda, Michelle told the parish priest of Santa Maria, in charge of the Salesian community, that her husband always carries with him a photograph with an image of Mary Help of Christians in his wallet. Those traveling with the Obamas reported that the first family of the United States has great devotion to Saint Mary.
The title of Mary Help of Christians is traditionally associated to the defense of the Christian Europe (Latin and Greek), the north of Africa and the Middle East from non-Christian invaders peoples during the Middle Age. In 1572, when the Ottoman Empire intended to invade the Christian Europe, St. Pope Pius V called upon all the Christian armies in Europe to defend the continent and asked the believers to pray to Mary in order to help the Christians. The defeat of the Turks was attributed to the intercession of Mary under such title.
As a Feast (celebrated on May 24th of every year) and Devotion, Mary Help of Christians came to use in 354 C.E. by St. John Chrysostom (347-407), Archbishop of Constantinople. The devotion became popular in Europe in the 16th century during the pontificate of Pope Pius V and the fights against the Ottoman Empire, and the Feast was formally established after being promulgated by Don Bosco through his Association of the Devotees of Mary Help of Christians in the 1800’s. The Orthodox has enjoyed this devotion since 1030 in Ukraine, when the country was defended from a barbarian invasion.
Inasmuch as carrying around a picture of Saint Mary in his wallet might make Barack Obama appear to be just a little more Catholic than every other Protestant and Pagan that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, it may not stop the growing percentage of American’s (nearly 20% according to Pew Research Center in August 2010) who think he is actually a Muslim, despite Michelle Obama’s well placed disclosure. After all, the Islamic faith has always had a special devotion to the Blessed Mother as well.
As 2012 approaches I am excited to hear and see more overt and fake overtures to Christianity that the Barack Obama will shamelessly offer, and there will be many. Many of us Catholics fell for it in 2008, hopefully the most pro-abortion, pro-homosexual rights President won’t trick again by pretending to be a Christian we can believe in.