I recieved the following invitation from my dear friend JoAnn and I wanted to pass along the same invitation to anyone who is in the area. May you accept this invitation to be blessed and be a blessing.
Your friend in Christ Jesus,
I would like to invite you and your families to join with ST. JOSEPH CHURCH, in Springfield for the MASS OF THE ANNUNCIATION and CONSECRATION OF THE PARISH TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY on Thursday March 25 (next Thursday) at 7 pm. Rosary will begin at 6:30 pm.
St. Joseph's is celebrating this feast in conjunction with our dear Bishop Johnston who will be consecrating our entire diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady at the same time in Cape Girardeau.
Why the consecration to our Lady and why now?
First, it has been asked of us by our Bishop. In a beautiful article in the MIRROR last December our bishop stated:
"Along with the diocesan consecration, I am also asking all of our priests to consecrate their parishes to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and I encourage each of you to consecrate yourselves individually."
Secondly, it has been asked of by Our Lady.
- In the modern world this devotion began in 1830 with Mary's visit to St. Catherine Laboure asking her to have the Medal of the Immaculate Conception made and distributed to bring conversion and peace to the world. At the direction of Our Lady, the inscription on the medal reads: "Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee." This medal is now known as the MIRACULOUS MEDAL due to the countless miracles obtained and attributed to the faith of the people in wearing this medal.
- Then, in 1858, Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France saying "I am THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION", affirming the Church's declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception just 4 years prior.
- In 1917, Our Lady appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal promising "My Immaculate Heart will ever be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God."
-In 1981, Our Lady began her visits to the children of Medjugorje, Yugoslavia. They continue to this day. Here Our Lady has promised that "The 'peace' of Medjugorje flows from the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a special gift from God." Just as at Fatima, Our Lady once again, at Medjugorje, offers refuge to all who seek her love through her Immaculate Heart. Medjugorje pilgrims are called to spread devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
-In 1973 Our Lady began speaking to an Italian priest, Father Stefano Gobbi of Italy who began the Marian Movement of Priests, a worldwide movement initiated by Our Lady to mobilize her "priest sons" to "call all my children to consecrate themselves to my Immaculate Heart. It is the message of Fatima which is reaching its fulfillment and is being realized everywhere, through the merciful action of your heavenly Mother. Through it I have asked for the consecration to my Immaculate Heart, as a sure means of obtaining conversion of heart and of life, and of leading humanity back along the road of its return to the Lord." In a recent letter by Father Gobbi, now 80 years old, to his priests he stated: "...as long as the Heavenly Mother gives me the health and the strength, I think that it is my duty to continue the already exhausting mission of leading bishops, priests, religious and faithful to the Consecration to her Immaculate Heart. In fact, these are the times in which the Most Blessed Trinity is showing the power of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in order that her Immaculate Heart be glorified by the Church and by humanity..." In the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Your little brother, Don Stefano Gobbi Feb 11, 2010
In the same December 11 MIRROR article Bishop Johnston states three main reasons he is consecrating our diocese to The Immaculate Heart of Mary and encouraging all parishes and faithful to do the same:
"HOLINESS...Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is ordered toward our common vocation to holiness; to fulfilling the purpose of our original consecration at baptism, deepened and strengthened at confirmation...Entrusted to Mary and consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, the goal is made closer for each of us.
FRUITFULNESS...Each of us is called to bear 'fruit that will last' (John 15:16)...We are each called to bear fruit in our respective Christian vocations:...While Mary is the Mother of the only begotten Son of the Father, she models that openness and respect for life that Christian marriage exemplifies...Mary is a special mother to all priests...a powerful help for priests to maintain their fidelity and their purity...a comfort and source of strength...in their day-to-day service of the Body of Christ. As she was present at the cross she is present at every Mass. Consecrated religious find in Mary a model of total self-giving which is a special gift to the Church...Those who are living a dedicated life in the Christian single state she serves to model a fair and pure love for Christ that must be at the heart of those who live as single people today...Along with our individual vocations, as a diocesan church we are engaged in many pastoral initiatives that we must entrust to Mary so that they might bear fruit...
PROTECTION...so that our diocese may be protected from evil...In the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help...His (Jesus') tiny sandal, which has slipped off of one of his feet, is a sign of haste with which we should all turn to run to Our Mother's refuge and care...In a similar fashion, Christ bids us to turn to his Mother, entrusting ourselves, our families, our Church to her loving and Immaculate Heart, that we might be consoled, strengthened, and filled with peace to respond in faith to God's will..."
Our Bishop concludes:
"...But in accepting her maternal role as Mother of the Church at the foot of the Cross (John 19:26-27), Mary must now search for all her children who because of sin are not where they are supposed to be, in their Father's house. In consecrating ourselves, with greater resolve each day, we take Mary's hand and allow her to lead us ever closer to Our Father's house. We likewise assist her in seeking out the many around us who are lost and disoriented and know not their way to true peace...The words of ...Pope Pius IX...are fitting for us to recall today: 'We have, therefore, a very certain hope and complete confidence that the most Blessed Virgin will ensure by her most powerful patronage that all difficulties be removed and all errors dissipated, so that our Holy Mother the Catholic Church may flourish daily more and more throughout all the nations and countries...and may enjoy genuine peace tranquility and liberty. We are firm in our confidence that she will obtain pardon for the sinner, health for the sick, strength of heart for the weak, consolation for the afflicted, help for those in danger; that she will remove spiritual blindness from all who are in error, so that they may return to the path of truth and justice, and that there may be one flock and one shepherd.' "
Please join us in this historic CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY and spread the word!