By Andy Katherman
The year 2020 was a tough year engulfed with fear, uncertainty and suffering.
Despite this turmoil, many good things happened for Catholics and their spiritual life within the Davenport Diocese.
One such ray of hope was the consecration of many to the Blessed Virgin Mary through a virtual retreat. Father Nicholas Akindele led this “virtual retreat” using the “33 Days to Morning Glory” book by Father Michael Gaitley for participants to consecrate themselves to Jesus through Mary. Father Akindele is the parochial vicar at Holy Family and St. Alphonsus parishes in Davenport and St. Peter Parish in Buffalo.
This month, the 33-day retreat began anew July 13 and will end Aug. 15. You are welcome to participate even though the retreat is underway. So, why would you want to consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary? In this context, the word consecration means we are entrusting ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary. As Father Gaitley says, this consecration is the shortest, easiest and most perfect means to become a saint.
Father Akindele describes his personal experience: “Once I entrusted myself to the care of Our Lady, I had a sense of the connection with the Holy Spirit because Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. That brings me so close to Jesus every day because the spouse of the Holy Spirit takes us to Jesus. She asks Jesus for me. So, I am content having her as my Mother. Even if I don’t ask, she takes care of me and, much more, she takes me to Jesus, helps me to avoid sin and to grow in holiness every day. I have dedicated my priesthood to her, and so my priesthood is in her hands. She connects my mission as a priest and I never feel alone.”
Last year, I consecrated myself to our Blessed Mother; I feel a profound sense of what it means to desire holiness. Since then, I give our Blessed Mother all of my fears, faults, doubts and achievements. By trusting in her intercession, my relationship with Jesus has increased by leaps and bounds. It also helped my evangelization and desire to share the necessity of the Catholic Church for the salvation of souls.
Those who want to participate in the 33 Days journey can learn more at www.VinumNonHabent.com/33Days and sign up. Free books are available in the Holy Family parish office, thanks to many generous donors of the “Vinum Non Habent” apostolate.
While the retreat began July 13, weekly live-stream interactive “touchpoints” are offered each Sunday at 3 p.m. via YouTube and Facebook. The daily reading assignments usually take 5-10 minutes to complete.
This journey concludes Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On that day, a consecration day Mass will take place at Holy Family Church. If you have any questions, please forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Andy Katherman is a parishioner and parish council member at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf and an officer of the Vinum Non Habent apostolate.)