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BY Joseph Pronechen
One million books to give away for FREE?
This is what happens when the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in Stockbridge, Mass., take one of the most popular Catholic books of the last two years — 33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration by Marian Father Michael Gaitley — and translate it into Spanish.
“Right now, we’re doing one of the largest consecration pushes ever,” Father Gaitley says. “We decided to print a million copies of a magazine version of the book in Spanish and give them away for free.”
Why would the Marians do this?
“Because our mission is to serve the Church where the need is greatest,” says Father Gaitley, who is also director of the Association of Marian Helpers and author of Consoling the Heart of Jesus (Marian Press). “And we believe some of the greatest pastoral need is found among Spanish-speaking Catholics in the United States.”
Now, with 33 Dias hacia un Glorioso Amanecer so readily available, the Spanish-speaking Catholic community will easily be able to make their consecration to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Father Gaitley’s original English version of this way of Marian consecration has already proven hugely popular to individuals and groups. Proof is that, since 2012, nearly a quarter of a million copies of 33 Days to Morning Glory have already sold.
In this book, Father Gaitley updates and simplifies St. Louis de Montfort’s method for Marian consecration that the saint presents in his classic True Devotion to Mary. From this saint, we learn that total consecration to Jesus through Mary is "the surest, easiest and most perfect means" to become a saint, because she forms us in the image of her Son, Jesus.
In his update, Father Gaitley includes not only St. Louis' consecration teachings, but devotes a big portion of the book to the new, beautiful and rich Marian consecration insights from the great 20th-century saints devoted to Mary — St. Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa and Blessed John Paul II.
Bishops have attested to the beauty and effectiveness of this new approach, because 33 Days to Morning Glory was even picked up and put into practice by some dioceses.
In Peoria, Ill., Bishop Daniel Jenky wrote to all parishes, schools and families recommending that they consider making this Marian consecration program.
In Kansas City, Kan., Archbishop Joseph Naumann invited everyone in the archdiocese to join him in this 33-day Marian consecration program. Hundreds joined him and finished the program together with Mass and consecration on April 8, 2013, this year’s feast of the Annunciation.
At the same time, this simple 33-day program is like a retreat that is easily done at home. It is both family-friendly and individual-friendly. All of only two pages of reading a day is all that anyone needs to do.
Now, 33 Días hacia un Glorioso Amanecer is ready to help the Spanish-speaking Catholic community do the same with ease.
Divine providence seems to have arranged the timing for this free million-book giveaway and for the Marian Fathers latest overall efforts to promote Marian consecration.
The initiative comes just as Pope Francis consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Oct. 13, on the anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, before the original statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima.
Francis already had Cardinal Jose Polycarp, patriarch of Lisbon, consecrate his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13, the anniversary of her first appearance there.
In light of the Pope’s consecration of the world, there is still the matter of our individual consecration.
Explaining the reason why, Father Gaitley says the Pope consecrated the world because, effectively, it’s going to bring a lot of graces to the world by invoking Mary, who is a motherly intercessor.
Turning to each person’s consecration, he says: “The consecration is particularly effective for individuals, because it helps us grow in holiness.
“John Paul II was particularly devoted to St. Louis de Montfort, who said one of the quickest, surest, easiest ways to grow in holiness was consecration to Jesus through Mary. And, as Vatican II said in [Lumen Gentium, the chapter on] The Universal Call to Holiness, we’re all called to be saints, to be holy. Entrusting ourselves to Jesus through Mary is one of the surest, easiest, most effective ways to grow in that holiness.”
With 33 Días hacia un Glorioso Amanecer, Father Gaitley says the first wave of consecration retreats begins on Nov. 9 and ends 33 days later, with each person consecrating himself and herself to Jesus through Mary.
Since consecration to the Mary is usually timed so that the consecration falls on one of her feast days, this initial one ends on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In fact, Mary appears on the cover of the Spanish edition under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Another plus: Each book comes with a beautiful, foldout image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“We chose this image for the cover because the books are being distributed in the United States, and the vast majority of Spanish speakers in the United States have roots in Mexico,” says Father Gaitley. “Our Lady of Guadalupe is extremely important in Mexican culture and the lives of those who have roots from Mexico. And Our Lady of Guadalupe is beloved by Spanish speakers throughout the world.”
And "Morning Glory" in the title has universal meaning, no matter the language.
“I chose this title because it best captures what Marian consecration is all about: a new way of life in Christ,” explains Father Gaitley. “The act of consecrating oneself to Jesus through Mary marks the beginning of a gloriously new day, a new dawn, a brand-new morning in one’s spiritual journey. It’s a fresh start, and it changes everything.”
Father Gaitley said the books were printed, stacked and ready to go at the beginning of October. In just one week, all one million magazine copies were spoken for.
However, the book versions of the English and Spanish translations are still available for purchase by calling (800) 462-7426. Father Gaitley hopes to print another million magazine copies to give away as soon as possible. To support this initiative, please call (413) 298-1297.