See UD's plans for teaching, learning and research this fall with measures to promote safety and lessen the risk of COVID-19 spread. See UD case dashboard here.

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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Hail Mary, full of grace

By Sister Angela Ann Zukowski

Recently I came across an article explaining the history of the “Hail Mary” prayer that Catholics have been praying for centuries. The article indicated that the prayer is historically composed of two main parts. The first part was known as the “Salutation of the Blessed Virgin” and a second part is believed to be added during the Black Plague to ask for the Blessed Mother’s protection from the fatal disease.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

The people of the 14th century greatly needed the ‘hope-filled’ dimension of the second half of the Hail Mary prayer.

Today, we are faced with the Coronavirus. The “Hail Mary” is a prayer that may encourage us along the way. The fear, anxiety, ambiguity, and stress regarding COVID-19 in our lives is amplified by the daily news, the closing of businesses, schools, public spaces, and loss of jobs.

This is alarming, however, we do not stand alone, we stand in solidarity with one another. We are a hopeful people, trusting in God’s presence and unconditional love. We go forward backing one another through our spiritual presence and prayer for protection and healing.

In the recent issue of Dayton magazine, you'll find an article about our Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF)

VLCFF online is committed to being present and journey with you. Our VLCFF e-courses (5-weeks) and e-seminars (3-weeks) are available during the upcoming weeks and months ahead. Our VLCFF facilitators (instructors) are poised to offer a sense of community and spiritual support.

Catholics continue to discover the VLCFF e-courses as an opportunity for sustaining them with rich Catholic inspiration and information. As the VLCFF celebrates 20 years of dedication to the People of God, we continue our virtual solidarity with each of you today. 

These days and weeks require that we isolate ourselves to prevent the spreading of the virus. Yet, we can still be present with one another virtually.

UD alumni and Diocesan partner participants pay only $10 week for a 5-week course ($50) or $40 for a 3-week seminar. Courses are held year-round with start dates listed here:  April 19, May 24, July 12, August 30, and October 18. Go to and click calendar to see the course catalog each cycle. Like us on Facebook.

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