Women are consecrated to Mary; shift perspective toward God

Friday, Dec. 12, 2014
Women are consecrated to Mary; shift perspective toward God + Enlarge
Women from the Cathedral of the Madeleine recite the Morning Glory Consecration Prayer before Father Martin Diaz, pastor, to become consecrated to Jesus through Mary.

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of women from the Cathedral of the Madeleine were consecrated to Jesus through Mary during a ceremony celebrated on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 8. 
In preparation for the consecration, Mary Gesicki, a spiritual director and lay ecclesial minister, led the women in 33 days of prayer and study using Hearts Afire, a parish-based program offered by the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. The program includes the book, 33 Days to Morning Glory by Marian Father Michael Gaitley, who based it on the teachings of Saints Louis de Montfort, Maximlian Kolbe, Saint John Paul II and Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata.
“Fr. Gaitley pulls from the teachings of these four people who dedicated their lives to Mary,” said Gesicki. 
The 33 days is significant; the group prayed 33 days, one for each year of Jesus’ life.
To fulfill the program, the group met for six weeks for prayer and discussion and to watch six of Fr. Gaitley’s 30-minute DVDs. The program allowed time to review the teachings and to discern if consecration was what the participants were being called to do.
Some people come into the program knowing consecration is what they are seeking, while others are “afraid and don’t quite understand what it means,” said Gesicki. “I assure them that the six weeks of study is a discernment process and they need to complete the program before their decision will become clear. Many people have said this program has made a difference in their lives; their goals and perspectives shift toward God in a new way. Everything becomes more meaningful because they entrust their lives to God.”
The program is modeled after St. Louis de Montfort’s Way of Total Consecration to Jesus, said Dr. Natalie Rodden, who participated in the program and was consecrated. 
“Fr. Gaitley wanted to bring consecration to the laity and make it relatable; St. Louis de Montfort’s way can be complicated,” Rodden said. “The book is beautiful; it talks about Mary as the created Immaculate Conception, she is the fullest embodiment of letting God’s will be done; Mary truly is the vessel that leads us to Christ.”
Rodden said she liked studying Blessed Mother Teresa and Saint John Paul II’s consecration to Mary. 
“It’s great to share our experiences with the other women; we all come from different backgrounds in life and in our relationship with the Blessed Mother,” said Rodden. “Mary wants to be our gentle, beautiful mother and we need to cling to her. I found consolation in that, and I pray through my consecration that I can continue my devotion to her. Mary makes our crosses in life tolerable; she is not outdone in generosity.”
Cathy Paiz experienced personal and emotional growth through the retreat program, which included writing reflections in a workbook, she said. 
One question that struck her was, “How we would feel if the Blessed Mother came to talk to us; would we be comfortable with that?” Paiz said, adding that each day participants would give their sufferings and prayer intentions to Mary so she could deliver them to the people who needed them most. “In the process we learned to open our hearts to Jesus and let him come closer to us in our lives.” 
The next 33-day consecration will start on Dec. 31 and conclude with the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on Feb. 2. For information, contact Mary Gesicki, megesick@gmail.com or www.allheartsafire.org.

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