Story by S.L. Hansen
LINCOLN (SNR) - Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Morningstar Chapter of Magnificat in Lincoln will host their fall prayer meal at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 at Hillcrest Country Club.
Kathy MacInnis, coordinator of Magnificat’s international governing body, will be the guest speaker. All Catholic women in the area are invited to come, and bring a friend.
Magnificat is an apostolate for Catholic women. It was started in New Orleans in 1981 by a woman named Marilyn Quirk. She saw a need for women to have a faith-sharing experience in a relaxed social setting. Since then, Magnificat chapters have been established around the globe.
Pursuing approval from the Church, Quirk received inspiration from the late Bishop Stanley J. Ott, who was then Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans. The late Archbishop Philip Hannan of New Orleans encouraged and approved the apostolate. Today, each chapter functions with permission of the local ordinary.
Rhonda Litt, coordinator for the Diocese of Lincoln’s Morningstar chapter, said, “It’s evident the ministry is pleasing to our Lord… Magnificat began with a simple prayer meal to give glory to our Lord and honor to His Blessed Mother in New Orleans; now 25 years later, Magnificat is a worldwide Ministry, with 15 more chapters currently in formation as it continues to grow.”
The apostolate takes its name and inspiration from Luke 1:46, the opening line of Mary’s joyful Magnificat: “My soul magnifies the Lord.”
By following the examples set by the Blessed Mother and her relative Saint Elizabeth, this woman-to-woman ministry encourages a lively, active faith in the Lord, along with a love for Mary and the Church.
Litt said the primary purpose of Magnificat is “to be women who magnify the name of Jesus!”
Members are encouraged to become more open to the Holy Spirit through a deeper commitment of their lives to Jesus as Lord. They also seek to impart the Holy Spirit to one another by their love, service and sharing the good news of salvation.
The group hosts quarterly prayer meals, retreats, healing workshops and other activities to support the members.
Litt, who has had several leadership roles in the apostolate since the first local prayer meal was held in Lincoln in 1986, said that being part of this network of faithful Catholic women has made a huge impact on her.
“It transformed my life,” she said. “Having that group of women to support you and turn to — we have brought our joy to each other but also our sorrows and suffering, and you get that support.”
The apostolate has five objectives:
1. Live out the joyful mystery of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth.
2. Help Catholic women open their lives to the Holy Spirit through a deeper commitment to Jesus as Lord and impart Christ’s Spirit to each other through love, service, and sharing the good news of salvation.
3. Provide opportunities for women to grow in holiness.
4. Sponsor the quarterly Magnificat prayer meal.
5. Imitate Mary through the spiritual adoption of priests and seminarians in prayer.
Litt said the fifth objective is especially important. At the first prayer meal each year, a priest is invited to be the speaker. Each woman in attendance “spiritually adopts” a priest or seminarian to pray for daily all year.
“Some choose to pray for two or three,” Litt said. “Our diocese is blessed with many wonderful priests and vocations.”
Membership in Magnificat is spiritual in nature. There are no dues to pay or obligations that must be upheld, other than to grow in holiness and prayer. A simple registration card can be filled out at any of the chapter’s quarterly prayer meals.
Pre-paid registrations for the fall prayer meal are due by Friday, Sept. 30. The cost is $20; college and high school students pay just $10. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated.
Checks made payable to Magnificat can be mailed to Tina Colgan, 521 N. 56th St., Lincoln, NE, 68504.
For more information about the prayer meal or membership, please contact Rhonda Litt at 402-489-3819 or 402-525-6396.
“Women today need Magnificat just as Mary and Elizabeth did,” Litt said. “Through that unity and grace developed in Magnificat, we outwardly proclaim the goodness of the Lord in our lives.”