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Area parishioners consecrated to Mary

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By Eileen Connelly, OSU
The Catholic Telegraph 

We’re all called to be saints and who better to emulate than the Blessed Mother. Members of St. Peter in Chains in Hamilton and St. Columbkille in Wilmington recently participated in a 33-day long Marian retreat geared toward spiritual renewal and drawing closer to the heart of Jesus through the heart of Mary during this Year of Faith. Their experience was based on the book 33 Days to Morning Glory, a Do it Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration, by Father Michael Gaitley, director of the Association of Marian Helpers.

Louise Karas, a graduate of the Athenaeum of Ohio’s Lay Pastoral Ministry Program (LPMP), and a certified trainer for the archdiocese’s Advent and Christmas Evangelization (ACE) program, has been assisting St. Peter, St. Columbkille and other area parishes with implementing the Marian consecration.

“This came up after much prayer and I got the sense this is what I was supposed to do,” Karas said.

Father Gaitley’s 33 day journey to Marian consecration enables participants to become acquainted with four giants of Marian spirituality: St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Blessed Pope John Paul II. In the book, he summarizes their teaching, making it easy to grasp, and simple enough to put into practice.

“In our hectic day and time, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa especially knew that the quickest, surest and easiest way to be transformed into a saint is through a relationship with our Blessed Mother Mary,” Karas said.

One hundred and eighty members of St. Peter in Chains and 91 parishioners at St. Columbkille undertook the journey in April with talks, special Masses and a blessing. The pastors of the respective parishes, Father Ron Haft of St. Peter and Father Mike Holloran of St. Columbkille, consecrated all who accepted the call and the faith communities themselves under the protective mantle of the Blessed Mother as they began the retreat.

Over the next four weeks, the participants, which included men, women and children, individually read the book. Prayer teams prayed for retreatants along the way, and Marianist Father Rob Jack, an instructor of systemic theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, developed a mini-Mary course on CD to accompany the book. A website is also in the works, Karas said.

On May 12, Mother’s Day, during Masses at both parishes, participants were consecrated to Jesus through Mary and vested with miraculous medals.

“Many people thanked me afterward,” said Amy Farr, who faciliated the consecration at St. Columbkille. “They told me what a blessing it had been for them.”

Karas believes the Marian consecration is wonderful chance for evangelization in the Year of Faith and is hopeful that other faith formation opportunities will grow out of it.

Karas said she is happy to help others set up Marian consecrations in their own parishes. For more information, contact her at lkaras9327@gmail.com.

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