When Bishop Steven Lopes visited Ottawa, one of our parishioners asked him about the role of Marian devotions in the Ordinariates. He told us that when members of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter organized a pilgrimage to Fatima this year, they prepared by doing a 33-Day consecration to Jesus through Mary. He also said he will ask all the priests of the Ordinariate to join him in their respective parishes in consecrating the Ordinariate to Our Lady on Oct. 15. Then we got the idea maybe we could prepare for this by encouraging our parishioners to make a 33-Day consecration in preparation.
I entered the Church believing the bare minimum one had to believe about the Blessed Mother, the Marian dogmas and so on. For our parish, Mary and papal infallibility were the only issues that needed some extra catechesis in our preparation for becoming Catholic. That’s changed. I am more of a maximalist now, and having a personal relationship with Our Lady has deepened my faith, “made my crosses sweet” as promised in Marian consecration, and been all around wonderful. I’ve made several Marian consecrations, as it is a requirement of the Spiritual Motherhood of Priests to make one yearly.
Over the years, I have also witnessed a popular comeback of Marian devotions in the wider Roman Catholic Church and I see good fruit coming from this.
In my work as a journalist for Catholic papers in Canada, the most exciting and spiritually-rewarding story I worked on this year concerned the discovery by some friends of mine of a film documenting the 1947 Marian Congress in Ottawa where Canada was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Father Bob Bedard, the founder of the Companions of the Cross, used to say, “Give God permission.” And then, something to the effect of, “Then, hold on!”
Well, I believe I have sincerely given God permission many times, but I can’t say I’ve had that “fasten your seat belts” and “hang on” experience, though over the past nine months I have witnessed this happening to my friend Dennis and Angelina Girard.
The Congress’ “crowning act,” according to Pope Pius XII, was the consecration of the Dominion of Canada to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on June 22, with consecration prayers read in French and in English by federal cabinet ministers Louis St. Laurent and James J. McCann.
“Obtain for the Holy Church of God peace and complete freedom; stay the rising flood of modern paganism, enkindle in the faithful the love of purity, the practice of Christian virtues and an apostolic zeal, so that the servants of God may increase in holiness and number,” read a portion of the consecration text drafted by the Pope.
Today, as Canada approaches its 150th birthday, Canada’s Catholic bishops have been invited by the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to re-consecrate Canada to the Virgin Mary on July 1 or another appropriate date in their dioceses.