Dear Friends in Christ,
After consultation with our priests, I decided last fall that as part of the celebration of our diocese’s 75th Anniversary, we would consecrate our local Church to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. As you know, the Blessed Virgin, under her title, Mary Mother of God, was declared our patroness when our diocese was founded in 1944. For these many decades, Mary has been our special advocate, intercessor and inspiration throughout all the joys and sorrows that the people in our 12 counties have experienced. Now, as we face the continuing challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrest in our nation, it seems especially appropriate to once again turn to our Lady for her prayers and protection.
The act of Consecration will take place on September 12, 2020, the Memorial of the Holy Name of Mary, after Mass at St. Benedict Cathedral. 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. In the weeks before (typically the 33 days), we are all invited to spiritually prepare for this consecration. The diocese will be providing your parishes various resources to assist you in this preparation.
In the simplest of terms, by means of Marian consecration, we give ourselves to Mary to be formed into the image of her Son, Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. St. Louis de Montfort once wrote, “Total consecration to Jesus through Mary is the surest, easiest, shortest, and most perfect means to becoming a saint.” So if we are striving for holiness, which is our baptismal vocation, then asking for the prayers of Our Lady is the ideal way to approach this eternal goal.
It is my hope that this Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary will open our hearts more profoundly to her powerful intercession so that she may lead us ever deeper into the love of her Son, Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Bishop Joseph M. Siegel