My relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary started when I was very young. I learned to pray the rosary, and after Mass on Sunday’s we sometimes visited a grotto modeled after Our Lady of Lourdes. I remember in my elementary years when my mother got very sick and was hospitalized, and a couple of us kids ran to the bedroom to get on our knees and pray a rosary. But, to be honest, the consolation of knowing Mary really was not that deep in me, and it faded.
It was during my second year of seminary that I remember being overwhelmed with Mary’s concern when I was praying a rosary for the unborn with a small group of seminarians. Then I happened upon the writings of some theologians and saints who helped me understand intellectually Mary’s role in salvation and the distribution of grace for the Christian life. Here’s a favorite line from Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar: “There is a metaphysical substrata that connects Mary to all of creation.” Wow! I eventually became so convinced of Mary’s necessary role in living the whole Christian life that I consecrated my life to Her, using St. Louis de Montfort’s method. I am constantly looking to Her to arrange everything in my life for our Lord’s glory. And I can often see how She comes through for me. (I know there is much that I am not able to see of Her work in my life.)
Vatican II’s Constitution on the Church calls Mary the “Mediatrix of Graces”. A mediator is somebody who arranges things between two parties of people. The feminine form of that word is “mediatrix”. Mary prays for and guides the graces that the Lord wants to send to us. She also helps with our petitions towards the Lord. Consecrating ourselves to Mary is a way of asking her to guide our entire life for Her Son’s sake.
During Mary’s apparition at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 (an apparition approved by the Church) she asked Christians to consecrate their lives to Her. St. Louis de Montfort, a saint famous for his devotion to Mary, wrote that all the treasures of Heaven have been placed in her care, to dispense “to whom she wills, as much as she wills, as she wills, and when she wills” (True Devotion, No. 25). Perhaps you remember the papal motto of Pope Saint John Paul II, Totus tuus. That is a motto which in Latin means “All yours!” It is a motto about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Saint John Paul II had consecrated his life early on to the Blessed Virgin Mary, using the format of St. Louis de Montfort. The Pope’s motto essentially meant, “Mary, I totally belong to You!”
Last year the FIAT committee suggested using the program 33 Days to Morning Glory to lead our parish in a consecration to Mary. Only shortly beforehand, I had learned that the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend had done such a consecration using the exact same program. The Bishop led them. Last year I thought I could not adequately lead this consecration, because we were focussing on the new YDisciple program so much. Then during the year as the Formed.org website developed we learned that this exact program is on our Formed.org subscription! Suffice it to say that I think now is the time to give us all the opportunity to make this consecration together.
33 Days to Morning Glory surveys the Marian devotion of Saint Louis de Montfort, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Pope Saint John Paul II. Elsewhere in this bulletin you can find information on the various group opportunities that will be available for watching the videos and discussing them at our Paulding campus. Or you might choose to do the consecration at home or in your own groups, by means of videos and textbook that are available on our Formed.org subscription. A family, or a married couple could do this together. Or a prayer group could choose to do this consecration together. So there will be various means for everybody to participate according to their convenience.
All of us will have the opportunity finally to make the consecration together at the December 8th Immaculate Conception Masses at our various campuses. At the end of the homily at each of those Masses, I will lead anybody present who so desires through their consecration to Mary. I think it will be beautiful. I think this consecration can give beautiful shape to your observance of Advent, and your preparation for Christmas.
-The air conditioning at Payne’s church was repaired. The cost would have been just over $6,000 to replace the broken down unit (one of three units that cool the church), but Hartman Brothers gave us a special for $1,000 less. At the same time they found that one of the other units had a burned out fan, with a resulting frozen up condenser. I am not sure as of this writing how much the the whole repair will be. We are grateful for a $1,000 donation that helped defray some of the cost!
-There was money designated for the parking lots from the gift Fr. Fillman received a few years ago. There is still about $6,000 left to put towards the Payne parking lot repair. (The other lots were repaired with some of that money.) Our first quote totally to redo the Payne church parking lot is over $70,000. This is because we were told the foundation of the lot is compromised enough that cutting out pieces to rebuild them does not make sense. We have been told we should repair the whole lot. At this price we definitely have to get some other quotes and opinions; so we will see how this project develops. It seems we would not do this until next Spring.
-The choir loft at Paulding is now very much cleaned up after the removal of the old air handling units when we put in the new air conditioning. New flooring and carpeting has been added where needed, where the floor was bare under the units. Now we are looking at putting in cabinets and shelves to organize all of the music materials up there.
-The Antwerp belltower project got stalled when we learned that AEP could not simply cover the existing power lines that were too close to the belltower. The lines had to be moved away from the tower. We agreed to go halfway with the Strebig company to cover this surprise expense.
-In the not-too-distant future, the new wooden risers in the Antwerp choir loft will be covered with new carpeting. Many thanks to Tony Wilson who is handling this project for us!
-Now that Divine Mercy School has installed smartboards in classrooms, we are going to use the old projectors in the halls at each campus to make various educational opportunities easier in those halls. Each hall will have a cart with a projector and speakers that only need a laptop hookup. It is a great way to take advantage of the projectors that have been freed up from the school.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,