Quan Tran believes the Blessed Mother brought him back to God.
He had fallen away from the Catholic faith and experienced a conversion when he was well into his professional life as an attorney. Returning to Catholicism, he felt the strong presence of Mary in his life, which became a vital part of his discernment process in studying for the priesthood.
Fr. Tran, administrator at St. Hedwig Church in Los Alamitos, had fallen away from the Catholic faith and experienced a conversion when he was well into his professional life as an attorney. Returning to Catholicism, he felt the strong presence of Mary in his life, which became a vital part of his discernment process in studying for the priesthood.
“Mary took the initiative,” he recalls with a chuckle. “She became a strong part of my faith life without me knowing how it happened.”
“The Imitation of Mary: Keys to Growth in Virtue and Grace,” Fr. Tran’s
2020 book [$16.70, amazon.com] shows readers how to imitate the 12 essential qualities of Mary to invite grace into their lives. The book builds upon his Fullness of Grace ministry, created to “help Christians grow in
their faith by forming a deep spiritual life in which they live out their vocations to holiness, intimacy with God, and bearing witness to Christ.” (www.fullnessofgrace.org)
“I’m drawn to want to grow in holiness and spiritual life,” he explains. “I’ve learned that with grace, you have to respond to it. It’s a gift that must be received, opened, and used for it to bear fruit.
I wrote the book because I didn’t want to miss out on grace,” he adds. “So many people turn from grace because they aren’t sure how to respond.”
He declares that Mary is “the most perfect of all disciples, a mother and model, God’s perfect work, who has the perfect response to God’s call.” Beginning or cultivating a devotion to Mary brings us closer to Him and offers the best example in worshiping and loving Christ.
Fr. Quan frequently looks up from his desk to see many of his favorite images of Mary, which remind him of his devotion.
Another way he recommends fostering closeness to Mary is doing a consecration, such as the one from Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort; a guide is at http://www.quies.org/True-Conse-cration-33-Day.pdf.
Various books on devotion to Mary – including his own – bring the faithful closer to the Blessed Mother. He recommends 2011’s “Thirty-three Days to Morning Glory: Do-it-Yourself Retreat,” by Michael E. Gaitley [$6.89, amazon. com]. “Read books on Mary to discover more about her, her life, and what the saints say about her,” he notes. In addition, a score of films about Our Lady can provide enlightenment.
And the rosary offers a special devotion to Mary that many Catholics ig- nore. “The rosary allows us to pray with and to her and to reflect on her life and the life of Christ,” says Fr. Tran, who recommends a daily rosary to contemplate the mysteries and bring us closer.
Pilgrimages to shrines like Fatima and Lourdes inspire visitors, and the recently blessed Our Lady of La Vang shrine at Christ Cathedral provides not only a look at the ongoing devotion of the Vietnamese people, but a local shrine recognizing a little-known apparition.
“Mary is Jesus’s gift to us,” he observes, underscoring the blessings of devotion to her. “His last words before dying on the cross were ‘Behold your mother,’ and ‘behold your son,’ so she is His last gift to us and one of His most precious.”