When it comes to praying to the Saints and asking their intercession, Catholics seem to be great at it. So great, in fact, that it is cause for many questions about whether we pray to them MORE than to Jesus. As a matter of fact, some people might even think that we pray to them to the EXCLUSION of Jesus...going to our brothers and sisters in Christ, who have gone to sleep in Christ and are part of His Body in Heaven (cf. Rom 12:4-6, 8:35-39, Mk 12:26-27, etc...) INSTEAD of to Jesus.
One conversation I happened upon consisted of a person asking exactly these types of things: “Why do Catholics pray to Mary more than Jesus”...and “why, when Pope JPII was shot, did he thank Mary for his recovery instead of Jesus?”.
Among the many answers this person received, that eventually led him to see that going to Jesus through Mary actually glorifies Jesus, in part because it honors the means by which Jesus chose to come into the world, there was one that stuck out to me in a particular way. With permission from the author (“Tantum ergo” of CAF), it is with great pleasure that I present it here:
“But she is not prayed to 'more than Jesus'.
When Pope John Paul II thanked Mary, it was for her intercession which she only was able to do with the power of Jesus, not 'by herself'.
You see, Mary and the saints are not in opposition to God. They don't do 'their thing' with God doing His, separately.
All that Mary and the saints do is through God. They do nothing without Him.
So any time you are praying to Mary, you are praying to Jesus through Mary, with Mary. . .you are never praying to Mary 'alone', or Mary 'instead of" Jesus.
There is simply no way that Mary or the saints are anything whatsoever without God.
The fact that they are with God and united to Him in Heaven means that they are always 'with' God, never apart from Him. They do nothing, see nothing, hear nothing etc except through Him, always and completely.
As St. Paul says, here we 'see in a glass darkly'. . .in Heaven we 'see face to face'.
So praying to Jesus through or with Mary is always and for ever centered in Jesus.
It's kind of a 'two-fer'. . . We pray to Christ, and Mary prays with us to Christ.
It's as if you were a small child going to ask your father (the head of your family) for a favor, and your mother went with you and added to your request with, 'yes, please let this be granted'.
Your mother couldn't grant you the favor herself, alone. You don't go to her instead of your dad. Your dad and your mother though are so united through marriage that they are indeed 'one flesh', so her request on your behalf is a powerful 'intercession', but ultimately it is your father's decision, even if, for example, you asked for a new baseball bat and he said yes, but he was going off to work and your mother was the one who went to the store with you and picked up the bat. It would still be coming to you through your parents (united as husband and wife), with your mother's 'intercession' but solely by the authority of your father as head of the household.
This is of course a limited example as both your mother and father are creatures and even though your dad is the head of the family, your mother is not his 'creature'. But even so, I think you can understand that Mary, a creature, not a creator, is still united to Christ, and that because she is so united (in a way that we ourselves will not be until we would, God willing, ourselves be in heaven as well) to Him, we can ask her to join her prayers to ours, to God.” (Tantum ergo)
Catholics don't go to Mary instead of to Christ. What we do is accept Christ's offer of Mary, as our Mother, which He made to us at the Cross when He said, “...son, behold, your mother...woman, behold your son...”. And in addition to that, we follow the example of our ancestors who went to one another for prayer, prayed for one another, and spoke of that great cloud of witnesses cheering us on in our race (cf. Rom 15:30, 2Thess 3:1, Tob 12:12, Rev 5:8, 6:9-11, 8:3-4, Heb 12:1, etc...). As a great person once said, (and I paraphrase since I don't have the actual quote handy): “Don't worry about loving Mary too much. You will never be able to love her more that God does.”