Under the Mantle of Mary: Consecration leads to greater practice of First Saturdays

By Fr. Francisco Pereira
Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal

The Archdiocese of Portland (Oregon) was the first dioceses in the United States to make its consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, under the mantle of the Holy Virgin of Fatima, which took place on June 28, 2014, in the course of a solemn Mass in the Cathedral. Since then, the Five First Saturdays Devotion has spread among parishes.

Archbishop Alexander Sample, in a letter written to the priests of the archdiocese notifying them of this consecration, explained that in the face of contemporary challenges, especially threats to marriage and family, it is not enough to rely exclusively on human efforts, but to ask God’s help. Like Pope Francis, through Mary’s intercession, the consecration of the archdiocese to her Immaculate Heart will foment the protection and strength of marriages and families. In the same letter the archbishop exhorted the priests to organize in their parishes the Five First Saturdays devotion.

The Cathedral Church of Portland was too small to accommodate about 1,200 Catholics who, coming from across the diocese and representing its multicultural population, wanted to join Archbishop Sample in this consecration made before the Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima. This image was blessed by Pope Francis on October 13, 2013, and is in the care of the World Apostolate of Fatima at its National Shrine in New Jersey.

In his homily during the Mass, Archbishop Sample stressed the importance of Consecration to Mary and urged those present to dedicate themselves to her, to carry out the First Five Saturdays, and pray the Rosary every day to achieve the triumph of God’s design for men: “Marriage and family life are in a real crisis. We make this consecration to her to watch over our families and marriages. Families need Our Lady’s love and protection,” he said.

The Shrine of Fatima was represented at this celebration by Fr. Francisco Pereira, the shrine chaplain, and also attended by leaders of the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.

The Sunday following the celebration, this consecration was made in each parish. The good fruits of this Consecration are already being felt: among the 120 parishes of the Portland Archdiocese, 55 parishes practice and embrace the First Five Saturdays devotion, with enough priests available to provide additional time for the sacrament of reconciliation.

It is a response to the growth of the faithful who want to live their consecration to Our Lady through such devotion.



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