Leo Custer, John Rhemrev and Elisio Gahaban of the local chapter of the World Apostolate of Fatima.
Jon DeBellis Of the Catholic Sentinel
A capacity crowd filled the pews and lined the walls of St. Mary Cathedral in Northwest Portland, as Archbishop Alexander Sample celebrated a solemn Mass consecrating the Archdiocese of Portland to Mary under the title “Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima."
The consecration featured the new National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima, which was blessed by Pope Francis when he consecrated the world to Our Lady of Fatima last October.
The archbishop asked those in attendance to devote themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to revive themselves in prayer (in particular the rosary) and assured them that this devotion would lead them to the triumph of God's plan.
"This consecration is one especially for the sake of the family," said Archbishop Sample during his homily. "Marriage and family life are in a real crisis. We make this consecration to her to watch over our families and marriages. Families need Our Lady's love and protection."
Father Francisco Pereira, who is chaplain for the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, was present for the consecration as an official delegate and representative.
Also at the event were leaders from the World Apostolate of Fatima, including David Carollo, its executive director.
"We were delighted to be invited by Archbishop Sample for this most joyous occasion," said Carollo, who resides in the Archdiocese of Chicago. "We are always excited to bring the message of Our Lady of Fatima to the people."
Mary Betzing, 67, a member of Ascension Parish in Southeast Portland was also in attendance. A retired U.S. Forest Service worker, she says it was her "own devotion to Mary" that brought her to the consecration Mass.
Local members of the apostolate who sent flyers advertising the event were on hand to greet Catholics from around the region who came.
Parish visitations of the statue are scheduled through July 6, and include stops at St. Matthew, Hillsboro; St. Rose of Lima, Portland; St. Joseph, Salem; St. Anne, Gresham; Our Lady of the Lake, Lake Oswego; Holy Trinity, Beaverton; Our Lady of Sorrows, Portland; St. Stephen, Portland; Christ the King, Milwaukie; and St. John Fisher, Portland.
The Archdiocese of Portland has published a visitation schedule for the statue on its website, at www.archdpdx.org.
"The family that prays together, stays together," said Eliseo Gahaban, a member of the Divine Mercy of Our Lady of Fatima, one of the local apostolate groups at the event. "We hope this event today keeps Mary in people's hearts, and enables them to ask for her intervention and guidance through family prayer."
In conjunction with the consecration, Archbishop Sample encourages all parishes, families and individuals to prayerfully participate in the First Saturdays Devotion, especially on five first Saturdays: July 5, Aug. 2, Sept. 6, Oct. 4 and Nov. 1.
On the first Saturday of the month the faithful are asked to: • Go to confession (preferably on a first Saturday, but within eight days before or after one) • Receive Holy Communion (in a state of grace) • Pray five Decades of the Rosary (one set of mysteries) • Spend 15 additional minutes in meditation (on one or more mysteries of the Rosary) All of these actions should be offered for the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Blessed Mother promised that if this is accomplished on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, she will assist us at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for our salvation. More information on the First Saturdays devotion can be found on the Archdiocese of Portland’s website: www.archdpdx.org.
Consecration Prayer Holy Mary Virgin of Fatima, with renewed gratitude for your maternal presence We join our voice to that of all the generations who call you blessed. Accept with the benevolence of a Mother our sharing in the consecration of the Archdiocese of Portland to your Immaculate Heart.
Hold our life in your arms; bless and strengthen every desire for good; revive and nourish faith; sustain and enlighten hope; awaken and animate charity; guide all of us along the path of holiness. And bring us under your protection and entrust us to your beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus. Amen.
Editor’s note: This is only part of the Consecration Prayer. The prayer was adapted from what Pope Francis prayed last fall.