First EVER Hearts Afire Morning Retreat Ignites 15 Parishes!

On April 21, 2012, just six days after the official announcement on EWTN of the release of Hearts Afire Parish-based Programs for the New Evangelization, St. Norbert's Parish in Paoli, Pennsylvania, held the first EVER Hearts Afire Morning Retreat, and they lit 120 hearts on fire for Christ! Thanks to the hard work, amazing organization, and dedication of Jackie O'Connor and her team, the day was a blessing to all and 15 parishes from around the area were represented.

Participants began this beautiful morning with a light breakfast and some social time followed by an amazing introduction of Fr. Michael Gaitley by Deacon Bill Masapollo. In his introduction, Deacon Bill spoke of the life-changing effect the program 33 Days to Morning Glory had on him personally and stated, "I have seen first hand how this devotion has created a community of believers who have become enflamed by its power in their personal lives, and how Our Lady and Our Lord, have brought pondering, peace, and new life." He went on to say, "With Mary as our model of trust in God and with fervent belief in and commitment to our Consecration to Jesus through Mary, we too can live the plan that God wants for us, just as Mary did."

Fr. Michael Gaitley gave two wonderful talks focusing on the beauty of the graces that are upon us and available to us now at this time, in which we live surrounded by great evil and darkness. He spoke to the importance of God's Divine Mercy and Mary's gift of mercy to us all, and gave us each something to ponder and an action item to take from this retreat -be open to the graces God has for you and act on them!

Fr. Michael's talk was followed by a touching testimony by Fr. Ed, who explained that he had tried to make the consecration by St. Louis de Montfort on four different occasions, but ended up quitting each time. He then expressed his gratitude for 33 Days to Morning Glory and explained how it allowed him to joyfully complete his consecration and how greatly it had transformed his relationship with Christ and Our Lady. Fr. Ed is 84 years old.

After Mass at noon, all were invited to a wonderful lunch put on by the core team.

During lunch, I was blessed to give a heart felt presentation on how to be open to the graces and how to bring the fire of Christ to all. Explaining the essence of Consecration to Jesus through Mary and the importance of it in the New Evangelization. I described the 33 Days to Morning Glory program and spoke of the simplicity in bringing it to your parish -and, now 15 parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are doing just that! And, I challenged everyone there to become "Catholic Pyromaniacs" lighting hearts on fire for Christ!

Thank you to everyone who made this first Hearts Afire Morning Retreat a burning success! If you where there and have comments, we'd love to hear from you. If you are interested in bringing the Hearts Afire team to your parish for a Morning Retreat to "spark" a Hearts Afire program in your diocese, community, or parish, let us know!

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