(LifeSiteNews) — A former English soccer player recently presented, live on air, two of his talk show colleagues with Miraculous Medals blessed by a Catholic priest.
Martin Keown, who has become a soccer pundit since retiring from the game, gave Jim White and Simon Jordan, hosts of TalkSPORT’s “White & Jordan” show, one Miraculous Medal each during a live episode in late March.
According to Keown, the medals were blessed by Friar Gerard Mary Toman of the Friars Minor Conventual (the Grey Friars). The Miraculous Medal is a sacramental, an object blessed by a priest which disposes the user to receive and cooperate with grace.
The Miraculous Medal dates back to the 1830s, when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Catherine Labouré, a member of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, and asked her to ensure the images she saw were placed onto medallions for believers to wear.
In an email to LifeSiteNews, Grey Friars provincial custos Very Reverend Friar Maximilian Martin confirmed that Friar Gerard Mary did indeed give the medals to Keown, with the intent that two of them would go to White and Jordan.
“[H]e explained Our Lady’s role in the life of the Church and in the life of each member of Christ,” wrote Friar Maximilian. “He also explained the origins of the Miraculous Medal encouraging faith to be placed in Our Heavenly Mother’s maternal intercession and in her distribution of the saving graces won by her Divine Son.”
He continued: “Friar Gerard Mary asked that the medals be given to the hosts of the program, though he didn’t envisage that this would ever be done [l]ive on-air. The promotion of our Conventual Franciscan Marian and Kolbian heritage is something our friars always seek opportunities to undertake faithfully and diligently.”
In recounting his conversation with Friar Gerard Mary, Keown implied that the priest was one of several individuals listening to the TalkSPORT radio station in the Vatican.
“I met someone really interesting yesterday, and this gentleman is a priest, has just come back from the Vatican, and he said to me, ‘We are listening to TalkSPORT radio at the Vatican,'” Keown said of Friar Gerard Mary.
However, Friar Maximilian clarified the context of the conversation to LifeSiteNews, explaining that Friar Gerard Mary would sometimes listen to the show while he lived and studied in Rome, not the Vatican itself.
“As part of the wider conversation, Friar Gerard Mary had mentioned that he had once, for a short period of time, served as a substitute confessor at the Vatican, after which a lighthearted exchange took place about how the program could possibly have been watched in the City State,” wrote Friar Maximilian. “Therefore, the media segment’s strong emphasis on the Vatican, though in no manner malicious, didn’t reflect the reality or the proper context of the conversation.”
Calling Keown a “real gentleman and man of faith,” Friar Maximilian said that Friar Gerard Mary was “very touched” when he heard Keown followed through in gifting the Miraculous Medals.
“The fact that these medals were then held up to the camera by the host of the program (meaning that tens of thousands of viewers would see the image of Our Lady, Mother of Grace) was a type of little miracle in itself,” Friar Maximilian told LifeSiteNews.
“Friar Gerard Mary has prayed daily for the three hosts of the program, and will continue to do so,” he added.