Unleash the Gospel points to Mary as the Star of Evangelization (Marker 10.1). In an effort to help families turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary for guidance, to look to her example, and to call on her as an intercessor, we have partnered with author Colleen Pressprich. Her book, Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children, offers 33 reflections and unique illustrations to help families learn more about Mary, reflect on her role in their lives, and engage in discussion together.
While the book is geared toward families with young children, the reflection questions can easily be adapted for older children. The beautiful illustrations will speak to all ages. While families can utilize this resource at home, this is a great opportunity to engage your parish or school community to participate in a Marian consecration together. Here are a few ways to involve the whole community throughout the entire process:
Ahead of Time
Consider providing the Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children book to each family in your school or parish community. You may be able to subsidize the cost for families or find someone willing to sponsor this. You can get the book for 35% off using the code UTG at the OSV Catholic bookstore through September 17th.
Pair this book with 33 Days to Morning Glory so that adults without children at home or those who are single can also participate in the Marian Consecration, using whichever resource they choose.
Pick the dates for the parish or school-wide Consecration. Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children provides specific start and end dates that align with particular Marian feast days (i.e., starting November 6th to end on the Immaculate Conception). You may choose to pick a date that is important to your community or that works best for the larger calendar. You also may choose to make the consecration period longer than 33 days.
Be sure to let families know what your community will be doing, how they can join, and the schedule so that they can easily participate. Consider creatively using videos, social media posts, and email to invite families to participate.
During the 33-Days
Incorporate the Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children content each time that you have young people gather—whether in the classroom, Faith Formation, MOMS groups, etc. Those gathered can look at the illustration, listen to the reflection, and share their thoughts from the open-ended discussion questions. Invite catechists and teachers to do this as part of their group prayer, utilizing prayer journals or coloring pages for reflection time.
Communicate with families about the Marian Consecration, providing tips and tools to make it a successful venture. This could include a guide that helps parents more confidently talk to their children about the faith, a video reflection about Mary on your parish website for parents to use for personal prayer, or an easy way to contact someone from the school or parish if they have questions about the faith. If children participate in the reflection at school or Faith Formation, you may consider sending home an additional question for families to discuss or invite children to lead their parents through the discussion that they experienced during the day.
Post on your school or parish social media channels prompts to engage people about the Marian Consecration. This is more than just reminders or highlights of what has already been going on so far. Ask questions, invite people to share prayer requests, etc. to build community and engage them in the prayer content.
Consider inviting Colleen for an author visit (in-person or virtual) to your parish or school. The illustrator of the book also has additional resources and you could connect with her.
For the Consecration
Schedule a special Mass or prayer service where people can make their consecration. If you have multiple masses that day, invite people to make their consecration at any of them.
Provide prayer cards so that it is an easy process for participants and can also be a memento of the occasion.
Continue the celebration beyond just the consecration date. Pray for participants at Mass, especially on future Marian feast days. Invite families to gather (in-person or online) for devotional prayer throughout the year. Consider offering the consecration again at another time later in the year for others to participate or for families to recommit to their consecration.
Parishes and schools have a chance to accompany families, grow in community, and help foster the habit of prayer. Utilizing Marian Consecration for Families with Young Children by Colleen Pressprich, we can help families draw closer to Jesus through Mary.
Special thanks to Fr. Jim Bilot and Anne Graves for sharing their experience of hosting a Marian Consecration at St. Paul on the Lake.