In the heart of Maximilian Kolbe’s “City of the Immaculata”, the John Paul II Project, along with 12 study abroad students, were formally consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It was simple, intimate, and quietly powerful. After Mass in the basilica, on the Feast of Pentecost, our little group gathered all the way in the sanctuary, kneeling before the tabernacle. Our host mother, Marta, who has been receiving groups I brought to her years before the JP2 Project was officially an organization, translated the words of consecration and the demanding encouragement of the elderly Franciscan priest who imparted his blessing. Everything, everything is Our Lady's now.
It has been clear from the beginning that this Project belonged to Our Lady. Now, with this formal consecration, I firmly believe that we have entered a new dawning of belonging to Our Lady. Every dimension of the Project, every person involved - students, families, board members, staff, mission partners - has been handed to Our Lady, Spouse of the Holy Spirit.
I expect big graces. I expect the Holy Spirit to work even more powerfully than before. I do not presume that the consecration is some magic button that releases the graces while we sit back and watch the show. The demand to work, the demand to give, is greater now.
I hope you’re all okay with the fact that we did that. You are a part of the project, you are part of this consecration and you are the vessels through which God can work. I know not every one of our partners is religious. This is John Paul II’s way, so we must follow. Totus Tuus: his papal motto that “everything is yours”, Mary, Mother of God and Our Mother. This was John Paul II’s secret to success, as measured by faith: to defend human dignity, to point out the way of salvation, to build the civilization of love and truth, amidst the most oppressing circumstances.
This Summer 2019 Study Abroad Group is a tremendous testimony to this work of the Holy Spirit, through Mary. I hope they do not feel offended when I say that this is probably the most wounded group I’ve had the privilege to serve, but perhaps one of the best. They managed to cultivate a supernaturally beautiful community life, marked with sincerity, understanding and joy. From the “normal” routine of impactful courses at the university, to opening up in community nights and on pilgrimage, to personal encounters with saints from Kolbe to Frassati, to serving each other in the residence, to dance parties over dishes, the mission is being accomplished in them and they are growing more than they realize.
Thank you for participating, whether you’re a professor teaching, one of the alumni who invited a student, a prayer warrior for the Project, a mission partner making this opportunity possible, a board member directing us to where the Spirit blows. You are the hands, the feet, the heart of Jesus.
With you under the mantle of Our Lady,
“In what does this life of the Spirit in Mary consist? He himself is uncreated Love in her...the very love of the Most Holy Trinity...the Holy Spirit lives in the soul of the Immaculata, in the depths of her very being. He makes her fruitful, from the very first instant of her existence, all during her life, and for all eternity.” - St. Maximillian Kolbe