Vallombrosa 300x100 12.2017

Archbishop to consecrate archdiocese to Immaculate Heart of Mary

01 ADSF2017_Marian Retreat-5 700pxWorshippers pray the rosary during the event, which also included small-group sessions in English and Spanish and concluded with Benediction and adoration.

23 ADSF2017_Marian Retreat 350pxCardinal William J. Levada was principal Mass celebrant at a Marian Retreat on May 6 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco in preparation for the consecration of the archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. (Photos by Dennis Callahan/Catholic San Francisco)


May 11, 2017
Valerie Schmalz

The 100th anniversary of the appearance of the Blessed Mother to three young shepherd children at Fatima will be marked in San Francisco by the consecration of the archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the annual rosary rally Oct. 7.

“In these times when we face ever more serious challenges to living out our faith and proclaiming the Gospel, we need to engage at a spiritual level asking God’s blessing and God’s assistance,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said of this special act of entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

With the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary “we ask Our Lady to intercede to her son for us that we may be more perfectly aligned with his will and be more deeply committed to sharing his love with others,” Archbishop Cordileone said, noting he decided to do the consecration in response to “many requests from the faithful.”

The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus, and her compassionate love for all people, according to the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s webpage devoted to the topic, sfarchdiocese.org/ihm.

While devotion to Mary under the title of Immaculate Heart had grown up organically for several centuries, it was at Fatima that Mary revealed her Immaculate Heart, surrounded by thorns, for the first time.

In 2013, Pope Francis consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as did Pope Pius XII in 1942 and Pope St. John Paul in concert with the world’s bishops in 1984. Pope Pius XII and St. John Paul also consecrated Russia as the Blessed Mother requested at Fatima.

“This is a way of asking for specific graces upon the archdiocese in the here-and-now,” said Father Joseph Previtali, administrator of Our Lady of the Pillar parish in Half Moon Bay who plans to consecrate the Pacific coast parish May 13. Father Previtali is writing a series of essays about the apparitions that are posted at sfarchdiocese.org/ihm.

A handful of U.S. dioceses have consecrated themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, including the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, and the Dioceses of Winona, Minnesota, and Springfield-Cape Girardeau, in Missouri. On May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, Tyler, Texas, Bishop Joseph E. Strickland will consecrate that diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. will consecrate his diocese on May 13 too. In February, English Cardinal Vincent Nichols re-consecrated England and Wales to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Westminster Cathedral.

“We are living in a difficult time and in a difficult place for Christians and Mary is our spiritual mother,” said Ray Frost, a pro-life advocate and a Legion of Mary member. Frost said he has been writing to leaders of the archdiocese for decades requesting the consecration. The Second Vatican Council “reminded us that grace came through Christ and through her hands since she brought Christ into the world.”

California recently legalized assisted suicide and recreational marijuana and has unrestricted access to abortion. San Francisco was the first place where same-sex weddings were performed at City Hall, officially sparking the movement and case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015. High housing costs make the area one of the most expensive in the nation, and Legion of Mary chaplain and St. Francis of Assisi, East Palo Alto, pastor Father Lawrence Goode said he hopes the consecration will “soften the hearts” of landlords.

Preparations in the archdiocese formally began with a Marian retreat May 6 which included Mass celebrated by Cardinal William J. Levada, archbishop emeritus and former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and will conclude with the consecration Oct. 7, the memorial of the Most Holy Rosary at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The consecration will be the high point of the annual rosary rally.

A detailed and regularly updated section of the archdiocesan website is devoted to the topic.

“I thought that this year, the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima when Our Lady revealed herself as the Immaculate Heart would be the appropriate time, preceded though with catechesis and spiritual preparation,” Archbishop Cordileone said.

Archbishop Cordileone urged Catholics to pray the rosary, as the Blessed Mother repeatedly urged during her five monthly appearances to Jacinta, Francesco and Lucia in Portugal, and to observe the five first Saturdays devotion as the Blessed Mother requested. The archdiocese is also sponsoring an art and essay contest for youth. Pope Francis plans to canonize Blessed Jacinta and Francisco when he visits Fatima May 13, the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s first appearance to the children. Lucia died in 2005, and the diocesan portion of the cause for her beatification was completed in February and sent to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

At Fatima, Mary showed the three children a vision of hell and said, according to the oldest, Lucia, “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” The Blessed Mother asked that the Holy Father consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, saying “and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” In a later appearance to Lucia, the Blessed Mother asked that the world be consecrated.

In the Archdiocese of Portland, the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 2014 has led to increased prayer and intangible benefits, said Todd Cooper, director of special ministries for Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample. “What this does, it opens the doors to grace,” Cooper said. “Everything is based on our yes to God, our yes to grace.”

“It’s not magical,” Cooper said. “The Blessed Mother does lead us to her son and helps us observe and practice here God’s will.”

Ando Perlas, president of the Legion of Mary in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, said he was among the many who asked for the consecration. What is important, “number one is for families and children to go back and ask the Blessed Virgin for help and graces. That is what is really missing in the world today. The Blessed Mother will bring our prayers to Our Lord Jesus.”

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