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Kristen Tirio wrote:


I was wondering if you could help me with some research I am beginning. I am a student at Penn State, and an active member of Campus Crusade for Christ. I am a Christian, more precisely a Catholic Christian.

I was discussing the Catholic religion with a good friend (a Presbyterian) and the topic of Mary came up. I did my best to explain why we ask Mary to pray for us, but I didn't know enough to give her a suitable answer.

She asked me for a Biblical basis for it. This was not said in a spiteful manner; she's just concerned for me. I do not feel that we are wrong to ask Mary to pray for us, and I was hoping you could help me find something in the Bible to back it up. I found some information on Mary on your site to be very interesting and helpful:

— [MS Word] The historical background on the Hail Mary

really helped. Perhaps you could point me to the proper references where I can find more information on this topic, preferably from the Bible.

Thank you so much! God bless!!

His kid,

Kristen Tirio

  { How do I explain to my Presbyterian friend why we pray to Mary and its biblical basis? }

Bob Centamore replied:

Hello, Kristen —

Your good Presbyterian friend asked you to explain why we ask Mary to pray for us and a Biblical basis for it.

Let me first say a few words about the Bible.

The New Testament we are about to reference is a Catholic Book (written by Catholic men inspired by the Holy Spirit). You can feel very confident our Catholic Doctrines are never opposed to Sacred Scripture and that is one of the reasons!

  • Did you know it wasn't until the councils of Hippo (393 A.D.) and Carthage (397 A.D.) that the New Testament cannon was listed and in 410 A.D. this cannon was approved by the Pope?

There were many texts alleging to be (inspired) Scripture, like:

  • the Gospel of Peter or
  • the Gospel of Thomas and
  • the Apocalypse of Paul, etc.,

that had to be considered. You can still find many of these texts to read. They are interesting but not inspired.

These councils were Catholic Councils with Catholic Bishops in attendance! There was no organized written New Testament before this time, and the faith was primarily passed on by word of mouth. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we read:

16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Here St. Paul was referring to the Old Testament of course because the New Testament did not yet exist in written form!

OK, now to your question. I assume your Presbyterian friend has asked you and others to pray for her at various times.

  • Can you see how much better it is to ask our Brothers and Sisters who are in God's presence in Heaven to pray for us?

They know what is happening to us here and care about us. See Revelation 6:10-11.

In Mark 12:26-27, Jesus shows how alive and aware these Saints are because God is:

27 not the God of the dead, but of the living.

In Matthew 17:2-3 we read:

2 And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him.

These following verses give examples of intercessory prayer.

to show we should pray for one another and why: (In 1 Corinthians 13:12 and 1 John 3:2) . . . because we see saints united with God.

Remember we want to follow and be like Christ. One of the Ten Commandments says,

"Honor thy Father and thy Mother!"

Jesus did this and we should too: honor His mother, as in Scripture, (Luke 1:48) Mary said:

48 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
  • I wonder if she and her other Presbyterian friends obey this biblical command [and call Mary, blessed]?

In summary:

  • The Bible is our book.
  • The Saints that have gone before us are alive, aware of us and are part of the Church.
  • We are asked to pray for each other.
  • Mary has a special place with the Saints because we follow Christ and He Honors his Father and Mother.

Kristen, I hope this is of some help to you. Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions about the above.

Under His Mercy,

Bob Centamore

Mike replied:

Hello, Kristen —

You said:
She asked me for a Biblical basis for it.

If you want the biblical foundation for many Catholic doctrines, teachings, and customs, check out my Scripture Passages web page below:

A Biblical defense for Catholic teachings

Any Catholic doctrine doesn't have to have a biblical basis for it (because Catholics believe in the biblical basis of Oral Tradition passed down from generation to generation).

Intercessory prayer to the Saints.

Tobit 12:12
Angel presents Tobit and Sarah's prayer to God.
Romans 15:30
Join me by your prayers to God on my behalf.
2 Corinthians 1:10-11
On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Colossians 4:3
And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
Ephesians 6:18-19
Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all God's holy people, and pray for me to be given an opportunity to open my mouth and fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel.
1 Thessalonians 5:25
Brothers and sisters, pray for us.
2 Thessalonians 1:11
We always pray for you.
2 Thessalonians 3:1
Finally, brothers, pray for us.
Philemon 1:6
I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.
Revelation 5:8
Angel offers prayers of the holy ones to God.

Interested in what the very first Christians thought, taught, and died for?
Check out what they said on this topic.

Are the saints dead? Is praying to them necromancy as Deuteronomy 18:10 says?

Wisdom 3:1-6
The souls of the just are in the hand of God.
Mark 9:4
Jesus seen conversing with Elijah and Moses.
Mark 12:26-27
He is the God of the living, not of the dead.
Luke 16:19-30
Departed rich man intercedes for brothers.
Luke 23:43
To the thief on the Cross: "This day you will be with me in paradise".
Hebrews 12:1
We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.
Revelation 6:9-11
Martyrs under the altar want earthly vindication.
Revelation 20:4
Saw the souls of those that had been beheaded.

Interested in what the very first Christians thought, taught, and died for?
Check out what they said on this topic.

The Holy Bible alone or the Holy Bible plus Oral Tradition?
Matthew 23:1-3
Chair of Moses; observe whatever they tell you.
(Moses’ chair was a prefigurement of the chair of St. Peter.)
Mark 13:31
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words won't.
Mark 16:15
Go to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Luke 10:16
"Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me."
John 21:25
Not everything Jesus said was recorded in Scripture.
Acts 20:35
Sayings of Jesus were not recorded in the Gospels.
Romans 10:17
Faith comes from what is heard.
1 Corinthians 11:2
Commends them for following Apostolic tradition.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2
Being saved if you hold fast to the word I preached.
2 Thessalonians 2:15
Hold fast to traditions, whether they are oral or by letter.
2 Timothy 1:13
Follow my sound words; guard the truth.
2 Timothy 2:2
What you heard entrust to faithful men who will also teach other faithful men . . .
[from generation to generation to today.]
1 Peter 1:25
God's eternal word equals the word preached to you.
2 Peter 1:20
No prophecy is a matter of private interpretation.
2 Peter 3:15-16
Paul's letters can be difficult to grasp and interpret.
St. Athanasius (360 A.D.)
Let us note that the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached by the Apostles, and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian. (Four Letters to Serapion of Thmius 1, 28)
Origen (230 A.D.)
"The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession, from the Apostles, and remains in the Churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as truth which is in no way in variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition." (Fundamental Doctrines 1, preface, 2.)

Interested in what other Christians in the Early Church thought, taught, and died for?
Check out what they said on these two topics: The Church as the Expounder of the Scriptures and On Sacred or Apostolic Tradition.

Hope this helps,


Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
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