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Thirteen Vows, One Mission

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By Breanne Reilly (Aug 15, 2015)
As "Hail Holy Queen" resounded in the golden rafters of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, the Marian Fathers welcomed three new members to their Congregation on Saturday. Three men professed their first vows with the Marians: Fr. Michael Ishida, MIC, from the Diocese of Spokane; Fr. David Gunter, MIC, from the Archdiocese in Boston; and Ruben Veloz of California.

During his homily, the Marians' Provincial Superior the Very Rev. Fr. Kaz Chwalek, MIC, joked that they rarely get priests as novices, but God's grace had called all three of the new members to the Marian Congregation.

"Somehow in their hearts, they wanted to do a little bit extra," Fr. Kaz said.

Before the altar, the three took vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. Father Kaz explained this was their way of showing their complete submission to God's will. He presented the new members with the Blue Scapular of Our Lady which serves as a sign of honoring and imitating Mary.

"You're saying, 'I love you Lord, I trust you, I listen to you, you're my enough," Fr. Kaz said.

Watch his full homily:

Additionally, 10 men renewed their vows with the Marians. The Marians also received three new postulants and eight new novices this weekend into the formation program.

View photo gallery.

Father Jim McCormack, MIC, the Marians' novice master and prefect of formation, said there are now more Marian vocations then there have been in several years.

"It's such a blessing, there's a sense that Our Lady is using our Congregation in a powerful way," he said, "The fact that we have so many vocations is a sign of God's mercy, that he is choosing us to do something special through his mercy."

As part of the Marian tradition, the vows were professed on the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary. Father Jim explained that this is because the Assumption is the celebration of when Mary goes to her eternal reward.

"She goes to intercede for us, and on this day, we are committing ourselves to follow and imitate her in a special way so that we may be with her and our Lord forever," Fr. Jim said.

New member Fr. Mike, a native of Hawaii, said he became familiar with the Marians when he was a postulate in 1999. After he completed his postulancy, he was led to be ordained to the Diocese of Spokane. He recently returned to the Marians because he always felt a deep love for the Blessed Mother and wants to spread devotion to her and to the Divine Mercy.

"Our Lady is love," Fr. Mike said. "She's the reason for my devotion, a love that, gratefully, sealed my fate regardless of where I was."

Father Mike said he hopes to develop certain talents with the Marians, mainly to be a spiritual director.

Brother Ruben became familiar with the Marians' mission in 2003 when he met Fr. Angelo Casimiro, MIC, who he now calls his good friend. He started going to Mass, even though he had not made his Holy Communion. For a month and a half, he sat alone in the pew.

"Then, I decided it was time," Br. Ruben recalls. "I tried to run, but you know Jesus, he always catches up to you."

Brother Ruben said at first, as a novice, he was homesick. But the Marians' devotion to Mary and their message of Divine Mercy has given him peace.

"This is definitely home and where God wants me to be," he said.

New member Fr. David said his life as a Marian has been "20 years in the making." He started as a parish priest in the Holy Family Church of Duxbury, Massachusetts. God called him to join the Marians when Fr. Jim McCormick was visiting his sister in Duxbury and was a concelebrant at a Mass there. Father Jim's devotion to the Blessed Mother resonated with him.

"I just love Our Lady so much," Fr. David said. "Sometimes I don't think people understand how important she is. My mission is to help the people understand."

Father David said he had read the powerful, first-person conversion story No Turning Back, by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, and was further inspired to join the Marians.

Father Donald, who is the vocation director, has held monthly retreats to Steubenville, Ohio, for the past eight years to share the Marians' mission. He said the members who have been inspired by his powerful conversion story don't join the Marians so that they may follow him, rather, it is so that they may live the life of a Marian — in total devotion to Our Lady and promotion of the Divine Mercy message and devotion.

"God merely sends me to go fishing for men. Any of them (Marians) could do it," Fr. Donald said. "They hear me talk about the devotion to Our Lady and Divine Mercy and they're hooked."

Father David wholeheartedly agrees.

"[Mary's] a Queen," he said. "You can't do better than that."

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how the Legion of Mary handbook can encourage dedication to Our Lady's work - Aug 19, 2015

love the Immaculata! :)

6.) IF MARY WERE BUT KNOWN!--- "To the priest struggling almost despairingly in a sea of religious neglect, the following words of Father Faber-- taken from his preface to St. Louis-Marie de Montfort's 'True Devotion to Mary'...are: "Devotion to her is low and thin and poor. It has no faith in itself. Hence it is that Jesus is not loved, that heretics are not converted, that the Church is not exalted; that souls, which might be saints, wither and dwindle; that the sacraments are not rightly frequented, or souls enthusiastically evangelized. Jesus is obscured because Mary is kept in the background. Thousands of souls perish because Mary is withheld from them. It is the miserable unworthy shadow which we call our devotion to the Blessed Virgin, that is the cause of all these wants and blights, these evils and omissions and declines. Yet, if we are to believe the revelations of the saints*, God is pressing for a greater, a wider, a stronger, quite another devotion to his Blessed Mother... Let a man but try it for himself, and his surprise at the graces it brings with it, and the transformations it causes in his soul, will soon convince him of its otherwise almost incredible efficacy as a means for the salvation of men, and for the coming of the Kingdom of Christ."

7.)BRINGING MARY TO THE WORLD--- "If devotion to Mary will work such wonders, then the great purpose must be to bring that instrument to bear, to bring Mary to the world. And how more effectively can this be done than through an apostolic organization... ((such as Marian Helpers, the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy, etc.))...the laity-- hence unlimited as to numbers; active-- hence penetrating everywhere; loving Mary with all its might, and binding itself to involve the hearts of all others in that love; utilizing all its avenues of action to fulfill this purpose. ... And so, bearing her name with an inexpressible pride; built as an organization upon an unbounded and childlike trust in her, to which it gives solidity by planting it in the heart of each individual one of its members: possessing then these members as working part acting in a perfect harmony of loyalty and discipline-- the "Legion of Mary" does not think it presumption, but rather a right degree of confidence to believe that its system forms, as it were, a mechanism which only requires operating by the hand of authority to compass the world, and which Mary will deign to use as an agency to accomplish her maternal work for souls, and to carry on her perpetual mission...":

'Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.' (Mark 3:35) What a marvel! What an honour! To what a height of glory Jesus elevates us! The women proclaim as most happy her who brought him into the world; but what prevents them from participating in that same maternity? For here the Gospel speaks of a new mode of generation, a new parenthood" (St. John Chrysostom).

2.) THE IMITATION OF MARY'S HUMILITY IS BOTH THE ROOT AND THE INSTRUMENT OF LEGIONARY ACTION--- "The legionary, in turning towards Mary, must necessarily turn away from self. Mary takes hold of this movement and elevates it; makes of it the supernatural dying to self which fulfills the stern but fruitful law of the Christian life (Jn 12:24-25). The humble Virgin's heel crushes the serpent of self... --
(a) self-exaltation...
(b) self-seeking...
(c) self-sufficiency...
(d) self-conceit...
(e) self-love...
(f) self-satisfaction...
(g) self-advancement...
(h) self-will...

...In the legionary, who is truly forgetful of self, there will be no impediment to the maternal influences of Mary. She will develop in him energies and sacrifices beyond nature, and make of him a good soldier of Christ (2 Tim 2:3), fit for the arduous service to which that profession calls him... 'God delights to work on nothing; from that deep foundation it is that he raises the creations of his power. We should be full of zeal for God's glory, and at the same time convinced of our incapacity to promote it. Let us sink into the abyss of our worthlessness; let us take shelter under the deep shade of our lowliness; let us tranquilly wait until the Almighty shall see fit to render our active exertions instrumental to his glory. For this purpose he will make use of means quite opposed to those we might naturally expect. Next to Jesus Christ no one ever contributed to the glory of God in the same degree as the Blessed Virgin Mary, and yet the sole object to which her thoughts deliberately tended was her own annihilation. Her humility seemed to set up an obstacle to the designs of God. But it was, on the contrary, that humility precisely which facilitated the accomplishment of his all-merciful views.' (Grou: Interior of Jesus and Mary).

4.) INTENSITY OF EFFORT IN MARY'S SERVICE--- "Even if it were known that Mary were going to give a desired result independent of the legionary effort, nevertheless that effort must be exerted in its fullness, with just the same intensity as if all depended on it. While placing a limitless confidence in the aid of Mary, the legionary's effort must always be pitched at its maximum. His generosity must always rise as high as his trust. This principle of the necessary interaction of boundless faith with intense and methodical effort is expressed in another way by the saints, when they say that one must pray as if all depended on that prayer and nothing on one's own efforts; and then one must strive as if absolutely everything depended on that striving. ... There must be no such thing as proportioning the output of effort to one's estimate of the difficulty of the task, or of thinking in terms of 'just how little can I give to gain the object in view?' Even in worldly matters, such a bargaining spirit constantly defeats itself. In supernatural things it will always fail, for it forfeits the grace on which the issue really hangs. Moreover, human judgments cannot be depended on... In the spiritual order the calculating soul will sink to smaller and smaller things and finally end in barrenness. The only certain way lies in unrestricted effort. Into each task, trivial or great, the legionary will throw supreme effort. ... But legionaries must be brought to realize that they do not work directly for results. They work for Mary quite irrespectively of the simplicity or the difficulty of the task; and in every employment the legionary must give the best that is in him, be it little or be it great. Thereby is merited the full cooperation of Mary, so that even miracles are wrought where they are needed. If one can do but little, and yet does it with all one's heart, Mary will come in with power and will give that feeble movement the effect of a giant's strength. If having done all that he can, the legionary is still a million miles from success, Mary will bridge that distance to carry their joint work to an ideal conclusion. ... And even if the legionary puts into a work ten times the intensity which is needed to perfect it, nevertheless not a particle of what he does is wasted. For is not all his work for Mary and at the service of her vast design and purpose? Mary will receive with joy that surplus effort, will multiply it exceedingly, and with it supply grave needs of the household of the Lord. There is nothing lost of anything which is committed to the hands of the careful housewife of Nazareth. ... But if, on the other hand, the legionary's contribution falls meanly short of what might reasonably be required from him, then Mary's hands are held from giving munificently. The compact of common goods with Mary, so full of unique possibilities, is set aside by legionary negligence. O what sad loss to souls and to the legionary himself thus to be left on his own resources! ... It is useless, therefore, for the legionary to justify insufficient effort or slovenly methods by alleging that he relies on Mary altogether. Surely that sort of reliance, which enabled him to shrink from reasonable endeavor on his own part, would be a weak, ignoble thing. He seeks to transfer to Mary's shoulders a burden which is own are adequate to bear. Would any common knight of chivalry serve his fair lady so strangely! ... So just as if nothing had been said on this subject, let this root principle of the legionary alliance with Mary be stated once again. The legionary must be to the utmost of his capacity. Mary's part is not that of supplying what the legionary refuses to give. It would not be proper for her to relieve her legionary from the effort, method, patience, thought, which he can provide, and which is due by him to the treasury of God. ... Mary desires to give profusely, but she cannot do so except to the generous soul. Therefore, desirous that her legionary children will draw deeply from her immensity, she anxiously appeals to them, in her Son's own words, for a service 'with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength' (Mark 12:30). ... The legionary must only look to Mary to supplement, to purify, to perfect, to supernaturalise the natural, to enable weak human effort to achieve what is impossible to it. But these are mighty things. They can mean that mountains will be torn from their roots and hurled into the sea, and the land be made plain, and the paths straightened to lead on to the Kingdom of God. ... " [The Official Handbook of the Legion of Mary. Ch.5 -- Devotional outlook of the Legion-- 6.)IF MARY WERE BUT KNOWN! (pg.23-24), 7.)BRINGING MARY TO THE WORLD (pg.24); Ch.6-- The Duty of Legionaries Towards Mary -- 2.) THE IMITATION OF MARY'S HUMILITY IS BOTH THE ROOT AND THE INSTRUMENT OF LEGIONARY ACTION (pg. 30-31). 4.) INTENSITY OF EFFORT IN MARY'S SERVICE. (Pg. 34-37) Concilium Legionis Mariae, De Montfort House, Ireland. Nihil Obstat/ Imprimi potest -- Dublin, Dec. 8, 1993.]


*"...if we are to believe the revelations of the saints*, God is pressing for a greater, a wider, a stronger, quite another devotion to his Blessed Mother..." ------

~Montfort, Kolbe, Mother Teresa, JP2, (& as always St. Therese :)

["Experience an extraordinary journey to Marian consecration through 33 Days to Morning Glory by best-selling author Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. Father Michael masterfully summarizes the teachings of four giants of Marian spirituality ? St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Blessed Pope John Paul II ? making them easy to grasp and simple enough to put into practice. More specifically, he weaves their thought into a user-friendly, do-it-yourself retreat that will bless even the busiest of people. So if you've been thinking about entrusting yourself to Mary for the first time, or if you're simply looking to deepen and renew your devotion to her, 33 Days to Morning Glory is the right book to read and the perfect retreat to make." ( http://www.shopmercy.org/33-Days-to-Morning-Glory/33DAY/itd/07170081/101/157/NO )]

praying for you guys - Aug 19, 2015

Merciful Father, in the name of our most lovable Jesus, of the Virgin Mary and of the saints, I ask you to set my brothers on fire with the Spirit of Your Love, and grant them the grace of making You deeply loved. Amen! :D