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Happy Birthday, Marian Fathers!

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December 11 is the anniversary of the Founding of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. On this day in 1670, St. Stanislaus Papczyński (1631-1701), above, left the Piarist order and made his oblatio, his self-offering, to defend the Immaculate Conception:

I offer and consecrate to God ... As well as to the Mother of God, the Ever-Virgin Mary conceived without sin, my heart, my soul and my body, leaving absolutely nothing for myself ... I vow to serve them zealously, in chastity, to the end of my life.

The fruits of that oblatio continue to this day through the consecrated religious life of the Marian Fathers, spiritual sons of St. Stanislaus, and of the many Marian Helpers who also serve the Marian charism all around the world.

The Congregation calls us to a special celebration of the Founding during the Marian Jubilee, being marked from 2020-2023. Father Joe Roesch, MIC, vicar general for the Marian Fathers, explains:

The Marian 350th Jubilee celebrations extend for four years, from Dec. 8, 2019, until Dec. 8, 2023. Why so long? Well, we began at the end of 2019 to give ourselves a year of preparation for prayer and reflection in anticipation of Dec. 11, 2020, the 350th anniversary of the oblatio (or "self-offering") of our Founder, St. Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701). We trace the origin of our Congregation to that date on which he made his religious vows. He didn't yet have any followers or a religious house, so we consider that the charismatic beginning of our history.

Our Jubilee will finish on Dec. 8, 2023. That year marks the 350th anniversary of the approval of our Congregation's first religious house. For a time, 1673 was considered the founding year. When Bishop Jacek Swiernicki made a visitation of the religious house on Oct. 24 of that year, there was one other Marian in vows and two other candidates. This marks the approval of our Congregation on a diocesan level. The extended Jubilee allows us to contemplate the founding of our Congregation from the inspiration that our Founder received from God to the more concrete beginning of a religious house with members. 

The theme of 2022 is "On the Paschal Path," meaning we are on the road to the Cross. During this year, we will contemplate the way that our Congregation has suffered through the years and what we can learn from it. In the course of our history, there have been Marians who have been martyred, put in prison camps, and persecuted. The Congregation has been suppressed and almost became extinct twice in our history. God willing, this will be reflected on during an academic symposium in Warsaw, Poland, running March 7-11, 2022. Then we are planning a meeting of young Marian priests and brothers from around the world at our Shrine in Lichen, Poland, to take place July 9-20, 2022. It will give them a chance to meet each other, pray together, and discuss our charism. We are also planning meetings (called "conventions") to take place in our provinces and vicariate in the fall to reflect on the theme of the Paschal Path.

In 2023, the Marian general chapter will take place in Rome in February. This meeting takes place every six years, during which we elect a new superior general and his council. The theme of the year is "On the Charismatic Mission." Our mission is to always proclaim Christ to the world according to our charism — inspired by the mystery of the Immaculate Conception — a sign of God's desire to save all people. We also do so by praying for the souls in Purgatory and by assisting the diocesan clergy in their pastoral work. During the general chapter, we will entrust the Congregation to our immaculately conceived Mother in the Basilica of St. Mary Major. During the Jubilee, we can continue to gain jubilee indulgences by visiting the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy and other designated churches. We are also seeking to found chapters of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception in our parishes throughout the world in thanksgiving for our 350th Jubilee. 

Only our Lord knows how many of our planned events will take place in light of the pandemic. No matter what happens, the Lord will not skimp on the graces that He pours out on us during the Jubilee!

Ad multos annos, Marian Fathers!

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