Last week Fr Nicholas Schofield blogged about a Day with Mary in his parish. This week it was the turn of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen.
The Day with Mary is closely associated with the Franciscan Friars (and Sisters) of the Immaculate. In addition to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, they take a vow of unlimited consecration to the Immaculate. The lay people who organise the the Day with Mary also offer their lives in an unlimited consecration within the Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix within their own vocation. Today, there were two new members who made this consecration during Mass.
As Fr Schofield explained, the Day with Mary is quite a tiring one for the priest. Fortunately, Fr George Roth FI was there to do many of the afternoon ceremonies, including the Blessed Sacrament Procession. Another local priest came to help out with confessions so I was able to disappear for a couple of hours in the afternoon to prepare the Newsletter and other items for the parish Sunday Masses.
In the morning, we first venerated the statue of Our Lady of Fatima with incense and various prayers, including the prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father. We then had an outdoor Marian procession round the streets, saying the Rosary and singing various processional chants in honour of Our Lady. Mass followed: I sang the Mass in Latin (novus ordo) and the sisters led the singing of the Missa cum Iubilo.
At Mass, I preached on the remorse of the damned, drawing largely from St Alphonsus. The principal point was to emphasise how little God actually requires of us in order to gain such a great reward as his grace in this life and eternal happiness in the next. In the afternoon, I took my turn preaching more specifically on Our Lady as powerful advocate, merciful advocate, and advocate who desires all to be saved. (Again, I drew from St Alphonsus rather than my own doubtless brilliant, but certainly less spiritually effective thoughts :-))
Over lunch, shared with the Franciscans, it was possible to browse a large collection of books - mostly published by TAN. The organisers generously tell me that I can take any books I want for free. Sometimes I take an armful over to the presbytery. Today, I just took a life of St Francis de Sales and a little book by St Alphonsus. My parishioners are very generous to me so I always make sure to send a donation to the Day with Mary in any case.
There were quite a few parishioners there but not nearly enough. This is a most wonderful opportunity to grow in grace, make new resolutions, and benefit from the company of good Catholics who set a fine example. I feel like shouting at people tomorrow "Why didn't you come?" I won't, of course. At the evening Mass, I hit on the idea of saying to people "If today you thought that it would be a good idea to go shopping, watch the television or do some other activity, you were wrong. You would have had a much better day if you had come to the Day with Mary." Said with a smile, I think that made the point without giving offence.
I'm sorry I didn't get many photos. The above was taken during the "Farewell" procession when the Fatima hymn is sung ("O Fatima farewell!") and people wave white handkerchiefs as they do in Fatima during the final procession on the 13th of the month.
Since today was marked by the consecration of two new members, the team stayed behind to share some food in our Small Hall and I had the chance to take my evening meal with them. Claudio very proudly showed me the pictures of his daughter who has recently joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate.