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Going Heart to Heart with the Marians' Founder

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After more than 300 years of effort, prayer, and hope, Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczynski (1631-1701), the Founder of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, will be canonized on June 5 at a special Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square.

It's a remarkable choice of date. Here's why.

This year, June 3 is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, as well as the culmination of the particular Jubilee for Priests, held from June 1-3. The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, which the Marian Fathers administer, will be taking part in the Annual Global Rosary Relay for Priests on June 3. (Pilgrims are welcome to come pray the Rosary for priests at 5 p.m.) Then, June 4 will be both a First Saturday and the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The holy priest Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary will be made a saint right after we honor the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, as well as priests!

But the "God-incidences" don't end there. Take a look at the readings for June 5, a Sunday. The second reading, by St. Paul, refers to "God, who from my mother's womb had set me apart" (see Gal 1:11-14a, 15ac, 16a, 17, 19). That sounds like a great description of the Immaculate Conception, a truth that Stanislaus swore to defend with his life's blood and that helped inspire the founding of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

And the connections become even more striking: The reading from the Old Testament is the story of the Prophet Elijah going to Sidon, where he raised the son of a widow back to life after the boy had fallen ill and died (see 1 Kgs 17:17-24). The Gospel reading is the story of how Jesus resurrected the son of the widow of Nain (see Lk 7:11-17).

Marian Founder Stanislaus Papczynski's beatification miracle was just such a "restoration to life." While in his mother's womb, Sebastian was declared dead by doctors in his hometown of Elk, in northern Poland. It was Zbigniew Chojnowski, the cousin and god-father of Sebastian's mother, who sought the intercession of Blessed Stanislaus. Zbigniew's prayers were answered when, on April 4, 2001 — on the eighth day of his novena to Blessed Stanislaus — the fetus regained a heartbeat. "This event was immediately judged to have come about beyond the powers of nature," stated the decree concerning the miracle, which Pope Benedict XVI authorized on Dec. 16, 2006.

So as we celebrate the canonization of Father Founder, let us be mindful of all God's gifts given to us in this time dedicated to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Let us all recommit to praying for our priests and seminarians, especially using the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. And let us celebrate, for our Father Founder is finally being declared a saint.

Visit DivineMercyArt.com to obtain images of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, as well as the Marian Founder.

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lynette hollingsworth - May 12, 2016

This is the most beautiful religion, Roman Catholic and I am honored to have been baptized in it. God's love is always being brought forward to us in many ways. Blessed be forever, Glory to God in the highest Amen