To Jesus, through Mary: 100 Years of the Militia of the Immaculata

Two Polish performers, who sang at Mass with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, dance to accordion music at the celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the Militia of the Immaculata. PHOTO BY MEGAN MARLEY

by Megan Marley
Special to The Leaven

“We want to help everyone become a saint, to bring people to Jesus through consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Founded in 1917 by St. Maximilian Kolbe, the Militia of the Immaculata (MI) is a worldwide evangelization movement that encourages total consecration to Mary as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society. The militia promotes this mission through prayer, teaching, formation and study of the faith, as well as outreach activities like religious talks, hospice work and feeding the poor.

“When you make that consecration, it’s more than just words,” said Christine Rossi, regional director of the MI and founder of its first group in the area. “You are saying to Our Lady: Use me; use me in any way you see fit to bring souls to your Son, to your Son’s most Sacred Heart.

“That’s what we’re saying, what we’re doing through our works.”

So inviting the public to Mass and a Marian talk for the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the militia, as well as the 14th anniversary of the first “village” in the Kansas City area, was totally up their alley.

Guests and members of the 11 villages spread across the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and guests gathered at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Oct. 7 to celebrate. The day started with a rosary, members of the militia renewing their consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Mass with Polish music, celebrated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann.

In his homily, the archbishop spoke on the value of the rosary and its roots in Scripture.

“I encourage you as members of this group to not only pray the rosary, but try to deepen your devotion; to contemplate the face of Jesus, truly contemplating the mysteries and what they represent: the incredible unfolding of salvation.”

“The rosary helps us to contemplate the whole life of Jesus,” he continued, “in his conception, his birth, his ministry, his passion and his ultimate triumph in the resurrection,” he said.

He also recommended a practice of St. John Paul II of including a short phrase to recall the mystery of the rosary after the name of Jesus in every Hail Mary.

Archbishop Naumann also expanded on what consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means.

“What this consecration does is entrust all our lives to Mary. The purpose of this is to consecrate our actions, our prayers, whatever our sacrifices are, to apply them where they are most needed, to entrust ourselves to her, and to allow us to draw closer to her Son,” he said.

After Mass, the group snacked on Polish pastries as they listened to a keynote talk by Mike Scherschligt, founder of the Holy Family School of Faith.

He first began by explaining the mission of the Holy Spirit, or Wisdom in the Old Testament, having distinctly feminine, maternal, bridal and virginal characteristics, which continues into the New Testament.

“In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit has a maternal and educative mission. For what purpose? To form Jesus in the world — first in the womb of Mary, and then in the souls of Christians,” said Scherschligt.

Scherschligt further explained that through the Immaculate Conception, the Holy Spirit fashioned Mary from the first moment of her existence to be the perfect human visible sign, the “sacrament” and perfect model, of God dwelling in the soul, and how that relates to the Holy Spirit working in our spiritual development.

“Consecration to Mary continues this process,” he said. “We choose to cooperate and help this process, by giving ourselves entirely to the Holy Spirit and Mary so they can form Jesus in us,” Scherschligt said.

The Militia of the Immaculata, he said, whose mission involves consecration, was founded three days after the final apparition at Fatima, where Our Lady asked for consecration to her Immaculate Heart.

After Scherschligt’s talk, accordion music and polka dancing kept the celebration and conversation hopping during the luncheon of cabbage rolls, kielbasa and other Polish delicacies. The day concluded with the chaplet of Divine Mercy.

For more information on the Militia of the Immaculata and St. Maximilian Kolbe, go online to: consecration-mid west.org.

Reprinted with permission of The Catholic Key.

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