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Joined by a Love for Our Lady

More Than One Reason to Celebrate Upcoming Marian Week

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Marian Week features daily Rosary processions on the grounds of Eden Hill.

Friends and associates of the Marian Fathers, joined by a love for Mary Immaculate, will gather next week for the annual celebration of Marian Week at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.

All are invited for daily Rosary processions, reflections on Our Lady, and the renewal of the consecration of their hearts and lives to the Mother of our Savior.

Marian Week begins Sunday, Aug. 15, on the solemnity of the Assumption and ends Sunday, Aug. 22, on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, with her crowning as Queen of Heaven.

This year's celebration has added significance since it will feature so many new faces — that is to say, vocations to the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception's Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy Province.

While most religious orders are experiencing a decline in vocations, the Marians — founded in 1673 to spread devotion the Mary as the Immaculate Conception — are experiencing a dramatic upswing. More than two dozen men are now in formation with the Marians, a fact that's "phenomenal," said Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, vocation director for the Province.

The breakdown is this:

• Eight members will begin their novitiate Saturday evening, Aug. 14.

• Six members will make first temporary vows on Sunday, Aug, 15.

• Nine members will renew temporary vows on Sunday as well.

• One postulant will begin a year-long postulancy in Steubenville, Ohio.

In addition, on Monday, Aug. 16, Br. Angelo Casimiro, MIC, will profess perpetual vows.

What do these men share in common?

"They are very orthodox. They're faithful to the Church. They're very 'Marian' — they love Our Lady immensely," said Fr. Donald.

And they are reminder of the powerful role Our Lady has in drawing people closer to Christ.

'I'm Most Encouraged'
The religious and laity will join together during Marian Week, with each day offering a celebration of Holy Mass, preaching, praying of the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, opportunities for confession, and a Rosary procession of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

For the daily schedule, visit our Shrine calendar.

Father Anthony Gramlich, MIC, the Shrine's rector, revived Marian Week several years ago after watching home movies taken on Eden Hill in the 1950s when thousands attended day and evening services for the duration of the eight days. The observance began in 1954 when Pope Pius XII declared a Marian Year in honor of the 100-year anniversary of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Father Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, director of the Association of Marian Helpers, describes the "elaborate observances" on Eden Hill throughout the mid-1950s and into the 1960s.

"It has started to come back," Fr. Seraphim said. "I'm most encouraged."

Father Seraphim noted that now "is a very appropriate time for celebrating Mary because the Assumption of Our Lady was recognized by the Church from the earliest times. Therefore, it is in keeping with the Church to celebrate the triumph of Mary. We need that because Our Lady is the preparation for our Lord's return. The whole idea is that the Church might be like the Bride of Christ, ready for His coming."

He said the numerous apparitions of the Blessed Mother throughout the world can be seen as a sign of this preparation.

"That's why I believe so strongly in Marian Week," Fr. Seraphim said. "This is meant to awaken us."

Ten Evangelical Virtues
The mystery of Mary being Assumed body and soul into heaven holds a special place in the Marians' spirituality.

The Marian Fathers preach that, through Mary's Assumption, we all may come to understand that we, too, are called to share in the blessings of Christ's redemption. The human body is called to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, and this is seen most perfectly in the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Indeed, the Marian Week celebration calls to mind the central role the Blessed Mother plays in leading us to Jesus, focusing on Our Lady's Ten Evangelical Virtues — purity, prudence, humility, faith, devotion, obedience, poverty, patience, charity, and compassion.

The Marian Fathers — the very same religious order called by the Lord to spread the Divine Mercy message and devotion throughout the world — has a long spiritual tradition of meditating on the virtues of Mary. In the 18th century, the Marians developed a set of prayers called "The Chaplet of the Ten Evangelical Virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary," which is still recited by the Marians today, as well as by the members of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception.

Father Anthony says the Ten Evangelical Virtues of Mary provide "a set of observation markers or signposts of how she lived her life here on earth." He said they are practical examples for us as we do our best to live our lives amid what the noise and chaos of daily life.

"Any sinner who comes to Mary will not find himself questioned," Fr. Anthony said. "Each of us knows only too well our own brokenness. So we all hope, and Mary is the repository of that hope, which the Lord provides through her. All can go to Mary, not just the righteous, but also sinners. God has put the Blessed Mother before us all to be a sign of His grace and the power of that grace to transform human life beyond all human expectation."

'Mary is the Gateway'
The importance of Marian Week can be found in its singular focus on Mary during a succession of days. Specifically, through this week of praise and honor, we are invited into a deeper relationship with the Blessed Mother, who is always there to intercede for us.

As this relationship grows, it enhances our appreciation for Our Lady's maternal guidance in our lives.

Father Michael Callea, MIC, put it this way: "Mary is the gateway for us to more freely enter into the great gift of eternal life in heaven that God wants to give us."

For the daily schedule for Marian Week, visit our Shrine calendar.

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