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Photo: Felix Carroll
These Marian Helpers volunteer their services for the Divine Mercy Sunday celebration at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, in Stockbridge, Mass.
By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Apr 13, 2009)
This year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the renovation — the rescue — of our Marian Congregation by Blessed George Matulaitis-Matulewicz (1871-1927).
There's more to his legacy, however, and it concerns you as a Marian Helper. In seed form, Blessed George founded the present-day Association of Marian Helpers when he established the Marian Fathers' Auxiliaries in the 1920s.
These were chapters or groups of the lay faithful attached to parishes in the Chicago area, where the Marians first located in the U.S. These auxiliaries supported the Marians through their prayer, apostolic works, and financial assistance. In turn, the auxiliaries were remembered in the Masses, prayers, and good works of all the Marian Fathers and Brothers. By 1926, there were more than 20 chapters of auxiliaries in the U.S.
If you are a longtime Marian Helper, this kind of spiritual benefit society may sound familiar — only it is no longer limited to particular parishes. That's because Fr. Walter Pelczynski, MIC, used the Marian Fathers' Auxiliaries as his model when he formed the present-day Association in Stockbridge, Mass., in 1944.
So as the Marians celebrate Blessed George's role as their Renovator, you can find encouragement in him as the founding father of the Association.
Consider, for example, these stirring words from Blessed George's spiritual Journal that sum up his call for the Marians to involve the laity in their work: "Animated by the Spirit of Christ, we [the Marians] must try to gather together and organize people of good will — to train and prepare them to work, and then, together with them and through them, to bring Christ everywhere, to restore and renew all things in Christ ..." (p. 32).
Later in his Journal, Blessed George explains more specifically:
Lay men and women could do so much good ... , once they have been instructed and educated in matters of faith and better informed about the needs of the Church; fired with holy zeal, they could then be organized into groups and actively involved in the task of spreading the faith. They could bring Christ into those places where we priests do not have access. We should gather such people of good will around us and prepare them for such an apostolate, which would certainly result in the greater glory of God and promote the welfare of the Church (pp. 46-47).
In light of this powerful vision of Blessed George for the laity, I invite you to think of the many ways we the Marians seek to educate you in the faith and inform you about the needs of the Church. We share with you our magazine, Marian Helper, about devotion to Mary Immaculate, spreading The Divine Mercy message, and prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. We also present you with opportunities to support the Marians' ministries here in the U.S. and around the world.
In all these ways, we seek to form you as part of our Marian family and encourage you to strive for personal holiness.
I especially encourage you to consider how you can help us promote The Divine Mercy message during this year of the North American Congress on Mercy.
In the words of Blessed George, may all these efforts to promote the message of Divine Mercy "result in the greater glory of God and promote the welfare of the Church."
"Father Joseph, MIC," is the honorary title of the director of the Association of Marian Helpers. The current director is Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC.