Women of Grace® is inviting you to participate in a very special event that will be taking place this Sunday, May 6, in the home diocese of our apostolate – the Diocese of St. Petersburg – when Bishop Gregory Parkes will consecrate the diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
This consecration, which is part of an effort to lead all people closer to the Heart of Jesus, will take place during a Holy Hour at 3:00 p.m. EST on May 6 at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle.
“An act of consecration to Mary is essentially an act of consecration to Jesus through Mary,” said Bishop Parkes. “As Saint John Paul II explained, ‘Consecrating ourselves to Mary means accepting her help to offer ourselves and the whole of mankind to him who is holy, infinitely holy; it means accepting her help—by having recourse to her motherly heart’.”
To consecrate means to dedicate or set aside for a sacred purpose, which was precisely what Mary’s life was all about. She was set aside for the sole purpose of serving Jesus. By following her example, we can give ourselves to Christ in a very powerful way.
This is especially pertinent to members of the sacred sisterhood of Women of Grace® who are called to bring Christ into the world through the gift of spiritual motherhood.
“We must stand out as lights in the darkness, become signs of God’s love in a nation seduced by humanism and enchanted with lies. We must be purveyors of life in a culture infatuated with death,” writes Johnnette Benkovic in Full of Grace. “Bearing the life of God within us, we must offer love in the image of our Father to those who have not yet heard. This is our mission as woman. This is our call as spiritual mother. This is authentic femininity.”
How appropriate that this consecration will take place during the month of May, a time when the Blessed Virgin Mary – and all mothers – are celebrated in our culture!
“Like Mary, we are called to surrender to the life of God active within us through grace. We, too, must surrender to our Lord and Savior, become impregnated with the Spirit of the Gospel, and become conformed to His image growing within the womb of our hearts,” Johnnette adds.
This Sunday presents an opportunity for all of us to renew our dedication to this sacred munus of ours, to live for Christ in imitation of His Mother who “mothers everyone like a true mother,” and is therefore “the model for those who want to be faithful followers of Christ,” the diocese writes.
By the grace of God and our dedication to the mission of Women of Grace®, we can “do so much to aid humanity in not falling.”
No matter where you are on Sunday, you can join in this sacred event by reciting the following prayer of consecration at 3:00 p.m. EST
Prayer of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Holy Mother Mary, with renewed gratitude for your maternal presence we join our voice to that of all the generations who call you blessed. We celebrate in you the works of God, who never tires of looking down with mercy upon humanity, afflicted with the wound of sin, to heal it and save it.
With confidence we consecrate to you today, Benevolent Mother, before this image of your Immaculate Heart, the Diocese of Saint Petersburg [and ourselves]. We are certain that each of us is precious in your eyes and that nothing of all that lives in our hearts is unknown to you. We let ourselves be touched by your most sweet regard and we welcome the consoling caress of your smile.
Hold our life in your arms: bless and strengthen every desire for good; revive and nourish faith; sustain and enlighten hope; awaken and animate charity; guide all of us along the path of holiness.
Teach us your own preferential love for the little and the poor, for the excluded and the suffering, for sinners and the downhearted. Bring everyone under your protection and entrust everyone to your beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus.
(Adapted from the concluding prayer to the encyclical Lumen Fidei composed by Pope Francis asking for the intercession of Mary our Mother.)
Click here for more information about this event.
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Bishop Parkes will be Johnnette’s guest on Women of Grace Live Radio on Tuesday, May 8, at 11:00 a.m. EST. Click here to find an affiliate near you!
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