I am happy to announce that, on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I will be renewing the consecration of our diocese to our Blessed Mother. On August 15th, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne, I will renew our consecration to Jesus through Mary at the end of the 6:00 PM Mass. Mass will be followed by a Marian procession from the cathedral to Headwaters Park, organized by the Knights of Columbus, to begin the annual summer Festival of Faith.
I am inviting all to participate in this consecration by making a personal consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This consecration has a rich tradition in the Church. Saint Louis Marie de Montfort proposed consecration to Christ through the hands of Mary as an effective means for Christians to live faithfully their baptismal commitments.
I am proposing that all who desire to make this consecration follow the 33 days of preparation for the consecration. We will be promoting the excellent guidebook, written by Father Michael Gaitley, entitled 33 Days to Morning Glory. Father Gaitley is speaking to our priests this week about this program for Marian consecration. The 33 Days of preparation include prayers and meditations for each day, using the writings of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Saint John Paul II.
I see this consecration as a wonderful opportunity of spiritual renewal for all of us individually as well as for our parishes and diocese. It is an opportunity to draw closer to Christ through the one who cooperated fully in the work of salvation He accomplished: His Mother. She accompanies each of us and the whole Church on our journey of faith.
Mary assisted the Church at the very beginning when she devoted herself to prayer in the midst of the apostles in the upper room, awaiting the day of Pentecost. She assists us today with her prayers of intercession.
Pope Francis, like his predecessors, has a deep devotion to Mary. I had never heard of one particular devotion to Mary until I read of it as a personal devotion of Pope Francis. It is the devotion to Mary, Undoer of Knots. This devotion is traced back to the year 1615 in Germany. Pope Francis, when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, had copies of the painting of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots displayed in churches and chapels throughout the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.
The Second Vatican Council taught that Mary’s faith unties the knot of sin. This teaching hearkens back to the words of a second century Apostolic Father, Saint Irenaeus, who wrote: the knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary; what the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.
The knots of sin, disobedience, and unbelief take away our peace and serenity. Pope Francis says that these knots “are dangerous, since many knots can form a tangle that gets more and more painful and difficult to undo. But we know one thing: nothing is impossible for God’s mercy! Even the most tangled knots are loosened by His grace. And Mary, whose ‘yes’ opened the door for God to undo the knot of the ancient disobedience, is the Mother who patiently and lovingly brings us to God, so that He can untangle the knots of our soul by His fatherly mercy.” Mary always leads us by the hand as our Mother to the embrace of our Father and to His mercy.
I am encouraging the Marian consecration so that we will allow Mary to take us by the hand in our journey of faith, to help us to untangle the knots in our life. Her intercession and example help us to grow in discipleship and to bring Jesus and His Gospel to others.
In entrusting our diocese to the Blessed Virgin Mary, I want to implore her maternal intercession for our diocese and for all our efforts in the new evangelization. I will invoke her intercession that we may truly be a missionary Church that reaches out to others, especially to the poor and needy, the estranged and forgotten, the sick and the suffering, and those who have drifted away from the Church. With Mary, we can advance confidently in our holy mission.
You will be hearing more about the preparations for the Marian consecration on August 15th, especially about the 33 days of preparation. It is being organized and coordinated by our Diocesan Secretariat of Evangelization and Special Ministries.
In this month of May, traditionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us honor Our Lady with prayerful devotion. Jesus has given us His Mother as our Mother. She offers us her maternal comfort and love, as she said to Saint Juan Diego: Let your heart not be troubled… Am I not here, who am your Mother?
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