by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — You love your parents, right? And your spouse and kids, too?
If you’ve said “yes” to either of these two questions, you’ve probably taken many opportunities to express that love over the years.
The Marian consecration to Jesus through Mary is pretty much the same kind of thing, according to Father Andrew Strobl, archdiocesan director of evangelization.
“It’s a particular expression of love,” he said. “Marian consecration is like taking [an expression of love] to a more consistent level. It’s not just a one-time thing. After we consecrate ourselves to Our Lady, we’re saying, ‘I want to come to Jesus through Mary all the time.’”
After all, who gets tired of hearing, “I love you”? Love is not redundant, he said.
This fall, the archdiocese is making a massive effort to give all Catholics an opportunity to make this “particular expression of love” by undertaking a do-it-yourself retreat using the book “33 Days to Morning Glory,” by Father Michael Gaitley.
The genius of the preparation for the consecration is the book. Everything you need to know and do is in the book. It’s a simple read and lots of people have done it, said Father Strobl.
The preparation begins on Nov. 5 and continues to Dec. 8, which Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann has set as the date for the archdiocesan-wide consecration.
This is the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, also the patronal feast of the archdiocese. People can either make the consecration or renew their con- secration on Dec. 8.
People can get find out how to get their books by contacting their parish of- fices. The book is available in English and Spanish.
The idea for an archdiocesan-wide consecration came from Father Brian Schieber, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood.
“We [archdiocesan priests] were blessed to have Father Michael Gaitley lead our presbyteral retreat this past June,” said Father Schieber. “He concluded the retreat by encouraging us to make the total consecration to Jesus through Mary. He said giving yourself totally to Jesus through Mary is the quickest way to holiness.”
This was something Father Schieber planned for his own parish, but he was inspired to do more.
“I thought it would be more powerful and receive much broader participation if Archbishop Naumann would lead us in doing it,” said Father Schieber. “The archbishop led people . . . in doing this [a couple of years ago], so . . . I simply asked if he would be willing to lead us again.”
This time, the initiative is being facilitated jointly by the archdiocesan office of evangelization and the family life office. In conjunction with the two synods on the family in Rome — one this October and one next — archdiocesan Catholics who wish to are encouraged to make the family the special intention of their consecration.
“The whole point of a consecration is to set yourself apart for a special purpose,” said Father Strobl. “In the same way, the idea of a consecration in our spiritual life is to set ourselves apart for a particular purpose.”
“At our baptisms, we were consecrated for Jesus Christ — set aside to live for Christ,” he continued. “A Marian consecration is an extension of that consecration at baptism. This is a way to be intentional about that baptismal consecration.”
The Blessed Virgin Mary gave herself totally to the vocation of being the Mother of God. This needs to be taken seriously.
“When we try to follow in the footsteps of Christ, we want to imitate what he did,” said Father Strobl.
“So the idea of a Marian consecration is for us — just as Jesus gave himself to us through Our Lady in the incarnation — to return our hearts to God in the same way, through Our Lady,” he continued. “It’s not a way to go around Jesus, but a way to take our baptism seriously.”
Although an opportunity to undertake the preparation and make the consecration is open to all, there is no expectation that everyone will take this opportunity.
“Like any sacramental and devotion, it’s not necessary, but is an opportunity,” he said.
It is conceivable that people could undergo the preparation and decide to forgo the consecration on Dec. 8, he said. The consecration should not be undertaken casually. Whether or not a person does this depends on whether or not they feel God is calling them to do this.