By Bishop James Conley
Just over a year ago, I was at a medical conference in Denver and ran into Father James Kelleher S.O.L.T., the founder and director of the Eucharistic Family Rosary Crusade.
We first met while we were both serving in Rome in the 1990s, but since then Father Kelleher has been traveling the country as “the rosary priest,” preaching the importance of praying the daily family Rosary to obtain world peace, and the importance of Eucharistic adoration. Since I invited him to conduct a Eucharistic Family Rosary Crusade in our diocese, he has visited many schools and parishes, sharing stories to encourage all of us to turn to our Lord in the Eucharist, and his Blessed Mother.
In April, more than 4,000 people joined me, and Father Kelleher, in praying the rosary around the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As Mary always leads us to her son, our culminating event of this crusade will be a Eucharistic procession around the state capitol building in downtown Lincoln.
In my 2017 pastoral letter, “Love Made Visible,” I wrote, “In the Eucharist, we are made sharers in Christ’s mission of love. He came to redeem the world. In the Eucharist, we are called to make disciples of all nations, so that all people will know the freedom of life in the love of the Lord. He has given us—the Church—a mission.”
It is our mission to make disciples, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world. I pray that bringing Him to the streets—literally—will strengthen and inspire all of us to greater zeal in sharing our faith with the world around us.
I hope you will join me for this procession Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. We will celebrate and worship our Eucharistic Lord in the center of the city, the capital of our state, and the heart of our country.
I would like to thank all the committee members who have helped Father Kelleher in leading the Eucharistic Family Rosary Crusade this year, led by president Jerry Meyer of St. Peter Parish in Lincoln. I also thank the Knights of the Holy Eucharist, who also visited schools and parishes to encourage the daily family Rosary and Eucharistic adoration.
And I would also like to thank the many families and individuals throughout the Diocese of Lincoln who have joined in this crusade to grow in peace and love for our Lord. The Church and the world need our prayer now more than ever, and I thank God for the example of all of you who strive to live that daily.
At the procession Nov. 4, many people will also prepare to make a “total consecration” to Mary. A total consecration is a giving of oneself to Jesus Christ through the hands of His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who always leads people closer to her Son. This devotion comes from St. Louis de Montfort, a French priest who died in 1716. He encouraged growing a relationship with Jesus through love of his mother. Pope St. John Paul II lived and popularized this devotion, and even took as his papal motto “Totus Tuus” which means “totally yours.”
Those who participate in this consecration will begin their 33 days of preparation for their Marian consecration at the Nov. 4 procession. Two of the most popular methods for Marian consecration are through the books, “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis de Montfort and “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Father Michael Gaitley. After the 33 days, participants make their personal consecration, usually on a Marian feast day.
On Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the patroness of our Diocese of Lincoln, they will conclude their consecration. At that time I will also consecrate our entire diocese to Mary with the following prayer of consecration:
O Blessed Virgin Mary, I solemnly bind and consecrate all the faithful of the Diocese of Lincoln to your Immaculate Heart.
Ever Virgin, Immaculate Mother, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Mother of Divine Grace and Mother of the Church, we ask you to cover us with the Infinite Merits of your Divine Son in order to safely arrive to the Eternal Day and see God face to face.
We ask this + in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.