Just before 10 p.m. local time on Friday, three coordinated groups of terrorists either suicide-bombed or opened fire in three different Paris venues. The first was during a concert at which American band Eagles of Death Metal was performing. The second was at a restaurant at which folks were enjoying a Friday night out, and the third was a soccer stadium during a game. In the end, 129 persons died and more than were 400 injured, many of them seriously. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

One of the dead is a 20-year-old California State University student, Nohemi Gonzalez, who had been studying for a semester in Paris.

Touches home, doesn’t it?

I’ve seen many pleas across the web for solidarity with the people of France and for prayers for the victims, survivors, and their families. It’s gotten me to thinking about a custom I learned from a good priest-friend years ago of placing the people in our lives under the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary by consecrating them to her. When we do that, we invoke her intercessory protection.

I think it’s a good time to do that for France, especially the citizens of Paris.

Who more than they right now need the intercessory protection of our Blessed Mother?

There’s a prayer that’s part of this custom. The prayer is one that the Apostolic Movement of Schoenstatt members use to consecrate themselves to Mary. It goes like this:

My Queen, My Mother,
I give myself entirely to you.
And to show my devotion to you,
I consecrate to you this day,
My eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart,
My entire self without reserve.
As I am your own, my good Mother,
Guard me, and defend me,
As your property and possession. Amen.

But, it can be adapted for others who we’d like to place under her care. So, I’d like to adapt the “Little Consecration,” as it’s called, for the people of France. I invite you to join me in praying for them and in lifting them up to Mary’s special comfort and protection as well.

My Queen, My Mother
I give the people of France entirely to you.
And to strengthen their devotion to you,
I consecrate to you this day,
Their eyes, their ears, their mouths, their hearts,
Their entire selves without reserve.
As they are your own, my good Mother,
Guard them, and defend them,
As your property and possession. Amen.

I believe what the Catholic Church teaches about Mary’s intercession, and I trust that she will hear and answer our prayers.

This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. (CCC 969)

French President François Hollande declared a state of emergency and three days of mourning for France in the aftermath of the vicious attacks.

I’ll be joining in those days of mourning, stopping every little while to consecrate the people of France to our Mother Mary, asking her to comfort and protect them with her intercessory power.

I’m consecrating the people of France to Mary. Want to join me?