I started preparing after lunch. It was a perfect Mother's Day, weather-wise, with a bright sunny sky and a temperature hovering around 60. I knew from experience that I'd need some protection but I don't think a baseball cap really goes well with an alb and I don't have a biretta. So after lunch I put some sunblock lotion SPF 30 on my face and head. It was my final preparation before leaving for the 31st annual "Walk with Jesus and Mary."
I drove 10 minutes to the Milwaukee Archdiocesan Marian Shrine and saw all sorts of people I know from various organizations including our own Apostleship of Prayer. Many of our supporters and volunteers were there, gathering for a May crowning and Eucharistic Rosary Procession. Fr. Matthew Widder, ordained a year ago, carried the Blessed Sacrament around several blocks as we prayed the rosary and Fr. Don Hying, the rector of the local seminary preached. Deacon Christopher Klusman also participated. Deacon Klusman will soon become one of only 5 Catholic priests in the U.S. who is Deaf.
The event was sponsored by a group called "Roses for our Lady." This association of lay faithful was founded in the 1970's to "bring honor and glory to Jesus and Mary in our world today." They do this by the event we celebrated today as well as Eucharistic holy hours, special celebrations of Marian feast days, a rosary procession during Milwaukee's Festa Italiana, and a monthly holy hour for vocations at St. Francis de Sales Seminary. The current president is my good friend, fellow blogger, and Apostleship of Prayer volunteer, Anne Bender.
In his homily Fr. Hying talked about the significance of a Eucharistic procession through the streets of Milwaukee. Bringing the Presence of Jesus into the world reminds us of our obligation to bring Jesus into the world through our presence. From my perspective, this is what it means to be the Body of Christ. This is what it means to "live the Eucharist." "Ite missa est." Those are the words that were traditionally used at the end of Mass. "Go, you are sent." We are sent forth to bring Jesus into the world through His Presence in us and with us.
After Fr. Hying's homily, I led the following prayers of consecration:
O Mary, my Mother, I consecrate myself to your Immaculate Heart. I am all yours, and all that I have is yours. Keep me under your mantle of mercy, protect me as your child, and lead my soul safely to Jesus in Heaven. Purify all that I give you, and take it to Jesus, that He may use it to help save the world and souls. Amen.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, filled with infinite love, broken by my ingratitude and pierced by my sins and yet loving me still, accept the consecration that I make to Thee of all that I am and all that I have. Take every faculty of my soul and body, and draw me day by day nearer and nearer to Thy sacred side, and there, as I can bear the lesson, teach me Thy blessed ways.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, once in agony, have pity on the dying. Amen.
The day closed with benediction. It was a wonderful way to honor our Mother and her Son on Mother's Day. Lastly, here are the lyrics of a traditional Polish hymn that we sang:
Stainless the Maiden (Serdeczna Matko)
Stainless the Maiden
Whom He chose for mother;
Nine months she waited,
Bearing Christ, our brother;
Think of her gladness
When at last she saw Him:
God in a manger,
Bethlehem a heaven!
Lantern in darkness,
When the sick are sighing,
Threshold of brightness,
Comfort for the dying,
High she is holding
For a world adoring,
Hope of the nations,
Jesus Christ, our brother.