Last August I picked up Fr. Michael Gaitley from Columbus International Airport to give his Consoling the Heart of Jesus talks to the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference Walking with Jesus While Holding Mary’s Hand weekend retreat. As with all the encounters I had with Fr. Mike in the past few years, it was divinely inspired. He excitedly reported about his new book 33 Days to Morning Glory – A Do-it-yourself retreat in preparation for Marian Consecration written in just a few short weeks. He also continued about the new Hearts Afire Parish Based Programs for the New Evangelization he was starting at the Association of Marian Helpers in Stockbridge, MA.
Fr. Gaitley had not even finished his story before I interjected, “Can I do it? Can I lead a group here in Columbus?” I am always looking for new solid Catholic studies to keep the flame of faith alive in myself and my friends. Consoling the Heart of Jesus, his first work, has transformed my spiritual life and many others. Sight unseen, I felt his Marian Consecration was going to be just what my soul needed.
Gathering a pilot group in Columbus was easy. Fr. Gaitley had spoken at two of our Catholic Women’s Conferences, our Catholic Men’s Conference as well as our annual retreat. After one email, 42 women gathered to begin the November study. We consecrated ourselves to Our Blessed Mother on December 8, 2011. We spent six weeks pondering the works of such Marian ‘giants’ as St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximillian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed Pope John Paul II. Our hearts were opened and changed for life. I began to spread the word. Everyone in my family received a copy of 33 Days to Morning Glory for Christmas.
I also told my parents, Deacon Paul and Jackie Krilich of St. John, Ind. about the HAPP program. Their parish, St. John the Evangelist, is a large and vibrant parish, ripe for the New Evangelization.
In a later wave of the pilot program, 48 members of St. John Evangelist Parish formally consecrated their lives to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the presence of the parish community on March 25, 2012, feast of Annunciation, They entrusted their whole lives, prayers, works, joys, and sufferings to the Blessed Virgin Mary all for the greater glory of God. They are now currently praying through the new HAPP pilot study of Consoling the Heart of Jesus, which will be officially released October 1, feast of St. Therese of Liseux.
The flame continues to burn in our family, as my aunt. Penny Geerling felt called to bring the study to her parish, Our Lady of Grace, Noblesville, Ind. She received their pastor’s blessing and initially reserved a small parish room with the capacity of 15. Penny did some prior legwork by inviting fellow parishioners to preview the introductory video explaining the HAPP program at the parish and in her home during the registration period. She started their 33 Days Group with 90 participants recently in the parish center. Their group will consecrate themselves on September 8, the Nativity of Mary, which is the parish feast day.
Penny also shared with me, “I tried to reserve a room for the 33 Day group meetings on Tuesdays; but the best day for the parish would be on Wednesdays. It turned out that all 6 Wednesdays are important feast days. Aug. 1st – St. Alphonsus Liguori (promoted devotion to Mother of Perpetual Help); Aug. 8th – St. Dominic; Aug. 15th – Assumption; Aug. 22nd Queenship of Mary; Aug. 29th St. John the Baptist and Sept. 5th – Bl. Teresa of Calcutta.”
Hundreds of HAPP groups are sprouting countrywide, mainly by the word of mouth of others by HAPP participants. Be a part of the New Evangelization today by starting a group and spreading the word. Our Lady is counting on you.
For more information on the HAPP program, visit http://www.allheartsafire.org
For my experience with the HAPP group, check out my post from May here