When you participate in Marian Consecration, you are consecrating yourself to Jesus, through His Holy Mother, Mary. Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC wrote 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration as an accessible way for individuals to learn about and consecrate themselves to Mary.
The retreat is started 33 days before one of the 17 Marian feast days. It follows the teachings of four different saints who had a deep love and devotion to Mary — St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II.
Here at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, there are ongoing retreats throughout the year. These retreats consist of daily book readings, a workbook to write about what you have read, and six weekly meetings for faith sharing and videos. These parish-wide retreats were inspired by parishioner Barb Prasad.
“I had done the retreat with my daughters years before, but as I was saying my morning Rosary, I felt this desire to do the retreat with women my own age,” Barb says. “Almost immediately, I knew who the women I was meant to invite were. It was as if their names just flooded my mind. Unlike most times when I got these urges, I actually listened and sent out an email, even though it was only 5:30 a.m. Within five minutes, all the women had responded with a resounding ‘yes.’ We continue to meet years later, and it has become a blessing to us all, and one we have been inspired to try and share with others here at the cathedral parish.”
There is no charge for parishioners to participate. Participants are encouraged to attend the feast day Mass and recite the consecration prayer as a group. All participants receive a blessed miraculous medal on their consecration day.
There are currently four small-group leaders who have participated in the retreat and worked to expand and grow the program. Ann Linhardt leads one of the small groups.
“One of the reasons I decided to lead a group of the Hearts Afire program was for my own personal religious growth,” Ann says. “After completing the program myself, I knew in my heart I wanted to share what I had learned with others. Starting my own group was a way to deepen my understanding of the faith and learn from others’ perspectives. I learned so much from the women in my previous group, and wanted to learn more from other women in the parish.”