An Teaghlach Naofa

World consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary - Ave Ave Ave Maria!

A Pilgrim’s Journey to Rome for the Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to pray for Ireland and the victory over the evil of abortion.

The Aer Lingus morning flight arrived into Rome on schedule. It was lovely to be back in the eternal city. Also making her way to Rome today, Our Lady of Fatima, from the national shrine of Portugal; her 10th trip to the Vatican in the last 100 years.

The evening sun shone brightly over St Peter’s Cathedral, scattering golden glints across St Peter’s Square, Christ and His apostles looking down on the crowds below. Looking up, there was a little bird perched happily on the cross of Christ. (Matthew 6:26)

World consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary - Ave Ave Ave Maria!I start my 4 day pilgrimage with a visit to the tomb of Blessed John Paul II. I remember fondly my first glimpse of this soon to be canonised Saint. I was a little girl, and with my family, in Galway, in the heavy rain. My father had chosen the perfect spot for us - the paddock. I knew the Galway paddock well from race week, and checking out horses like “Brown Lad” or “Ten Up”, always a colourful day out, but to see the Pope in the paddock, what were the odds on that?! I vividly remember him stepping out of the helicopter swathed in his green robes, his large Bishop’s staff in one hand and his warm smile greeting the huge crowds and taking us all into his big heart. Christ’s vicar on earth had landed at Ballybrit! And all heaven broke loose. There was a much bigger cheer that day than for any Galway Plate winner. We screamed our heads off and I was convinced, like many children there, that he turned, smiled and waved at me! To the youth of Ireland he said “You carry in your hearts the treasures which Irish history and culture have given you, but you also share in the problems that Ireland faces”, and then, very simply, “Young people of Ireland, I love you”. I think of my beautiful parents, their love for their family and their gift of faith and I thank God for the wonderful blessing of being born to them and for the gift of my life.

Sitting here, Blessed John Paul II’s words, spoken in Phoenix Park, also come to mind, “May the light of Christ, the light of faith always continue to shine out from Ireland". I came across them on a prayer card that fell out of my purse in late August, when getting a coffee, after a meeting convened to find some way to challenge the heinous abortion legislation. I wonder what John Paul 11 would say about the Irish eclipse of His sun at 12 noon Angelus time on 31st July when the Irish President enshrined Enda Kenny’s abortion bill into the law of our land, casting the darkest of shadows across our country? What would he say to the people of Ireland? What would he say to the faithful people of Ireland? I sat for some time and opened at 2 Corinthians 4:1-16. What would he say about the deafening silence of the Irish Bishops in the face of such evil where babies can now be killed at the point of their birth. Evangelium Vitae! Have they forgotten perhaps that they, like him, will one day come face to face with Christ? What would he say to the board of the Mater Misericordiae? What has happened our beloved country that has walked with Our Lady for centuries and pays homage to her in our native tongue? Our country, that She chose to visit decades ago in Knock. Ireland, so rich in the sheer beauty of God’s creation, how has this darkness crept in on us? How can a President, who has no belief in God, swear to Almighty God to uphold our Constitution? Our Constitution, enacted in the name of the most Holy Trinity. Where is the light of Christ in Ireland today? Ardu suas mhuintir na hEireann and let your light shine. Follow our Lady, pray and fast and The Lamb will conquer!

The next morning I am up early to get tickets for Saturday and Sunday. After 12 noon mass in the beautiful Jesuit church near the Pantheon, I make my way back to the Vatican. There is a great buzz all around St Peter’s, as people of all ages wait in eager anticipation for the arrival of Our Lady of Fatima. It’s 2.30 p.m and huge crowds of all nationalities pour into St Peter’s Square. A seat on the third row for me; I couldn’t hope for a better spot. The atmosphere is electric for this historic day. Shortly before 5 p.m. the statue of Lady appears into St Peter’s Square escorted by the Swiss Guard. An incredible moment and over 100,000 people burst into Ave Ave Ave Maria and wave white handkerchiefs in the air as the procession travels through the crowds. Twenty minutes later another huge cheer as Pope Francis walks out from his palace to greet his queen. It is humbling to watch his tender affection for Our Lady, as he welcomes Her on the steps of St Peter’s. What a moment, for it was She, Our Lady of Fatima, who chose him as Her Pope on the 13 March, just 7 months ago. What a choice, what a Pope, what a papacy! All around doves swoop low across the crowds and in an out of the altar, as if in rhythm with the orchestra. It’s my first glimpse of Pope Francis. I have reverted to a 12 year old child again, this is a memory I will treasure as much as Ballybrit. One of the stones in her jewelled crown, the bullet shot into Pope John Paul II’s body, deflected by her own hand, in this very same square.

Pope Francis venerates the statue and leads us in the seven sorrows of Mary. He explains that Our Lady’s faith unties the knot of sin. “Sin is a kind of knot created deep within us and these knots take away our peace and serenity.” And he tells us, “Mary understood that the journey of the faith passes through the Cross, from the time Herod sought to kill the newborn Jesus, until his passion and death on the Cross. And when she received word that the tomb was empty, her heart was filled with the joy of faith: Christian faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

It seems the world media are here to cover the event, although I doubt RTE and BBC will feature. Back home, BBC Northern Ireland are baying for the killing of unborn babies with disabilities. The most vulnerable, those who need even more love than other babies, should be discarded, they say. One presenter, live on air, encourages parents to abort their baby. Another radio programme gives an interview live from the Marie Stopes Abortion clinic in Belfast, where staff are celebrating their first birthday, a day, the babies, they recommend killing, will never see. Who are these murdered children destined to be? St Pio, once told a mother in confession who had aborted her baby, that her murdered son was destined to be Pope.

Sunday morning 7.30 a.m. and there are already huge crowds gathered for mass and the consecration of the world to Her Immaculate Heart. These are the times for which we are each called to give witness. This is the beginning of Her triumph. Ave Ave Ave Maria rings out. The Square is alight with the spirit of Her beloved spouse, a shining mirror in the faces of so many young priests and religious. The four women beside me are from Mexico city and speak of their love for their own national shrine to Our Lady of Guadelupe, patroness of unborn babies. The peace and the joy in the air is infectious as the procession of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima makes Her way around the square for the second time in two days. Pope Francis opens his homily with “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous things” (Ps 98:1) and he tells us God does three things for us: “God surprises us, God asks us to be faithful, and God is our strength”. The power of the Consecration descends on the millions of prayers in the Pope’s chalice and a large dove swoops over the altar. Rivers of living water flow down through the people. We are being baptised in His spirit.

After mass, the Pope entrusts the world to the immaculate Heart of Mary “Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima, with renewed gratitude for your motherly presence we join in the voice of all generations that call you blessed. We celebrate in you the great works of God, who never tires of lowering himself in mercy over humanity, afflicted by evil and wounded by sin, to heal and to save it. Accept with the benevolence of a Mother this act of entrustment that we make in faith today, before this your image, beloved to us. We are certain that each one of us is precious in your eyes and that nothing in our hearts has estranged you. May that we allow your sweet gaze to reach us and the perpetual warmth of your smile. Guard our life with your embrace: bless and strengthen every desire for good; give new life and nourishment to faith; sustain and enlighten hope; awaken and animate charity; guide us all on the path to holiness. Teach us your own special love for the little and the poor, for the excluded and the suffering, for sinners and the wounded of heart: gather all people under you protection and give us all to your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus. Amen”. Beautiful. After the Papal blessing and The Angelus, Pope Francis acknowledges the people representing so many countries around the world and says “I wish to thank all of you who have come out in such great numbers from Rome, Italy and from so many parts of the world for this celebration of faith dedicated to Mary, our Mother”. The Square is screaming with his fans as they await his spin around in his white jeep. Here, Papa Francesco is bigger than Elvis!

On Monday I go to 9 a,m. mass in St John Lateran. Outside, I meet Mario and Una, tour guides I met last October in Padua. They invite me to join their group for the morning. We visit the Holy Stairs, where Christ himself walked before Pilate. I think of Pilate washing his hands at the top of these same stairs. And of our Bishops at home, who by their very silence, are surely doing the same. I thank God for the brave Irish politicians who stood with Christ, may many more join their fold. May ordinary catholic people be more prudent as to whom they elect in future to represent them. From here we go to St Mary Major’s, where the Pope consecrated his papacy to Our Lady of Rome, the day after his election. Here in the crypt, the relic of the manger, in which the baby Jesus once lay; an amazing grace to see what remains of His little crib. I have visited the manger in Bethlehem on three occasions, each time after coming out of the Gaza strip, to pray for all the children imprisoned there. Gaza, so hated by the world, for it provided an escape route for the Infant Child to Egypt. In Bethlehem, a large star marks the spot of His birth. I didn’t know this relic of the crib even existed. It is a joy to behold. I ponder on the shepherds when they came to adore the Baby Jesus? I am just as close to His crib as they are. If only our government leaders, journalists and media celebrities could learn to adore little babies like the shepherds.

We have lunch near the Vatican, opting for a sandwich in a local bakery rather than one of the more expensive restaurants. I say Ciao to my friends and walk a short distance to The Divine Mercy Chapel for the chaplet at 3 p.m. Across from the Divine Mercy Shrine, a large painting of Blessed John Paul II looks over at Christ and St Faustina. So appropriate, for he was the Pope of the Divine Mercy. I pray for the conversion of our pro-abortion politicians, North and South, our pro-abortion media and people in Ireland who are deceived and think it is acceptable to receive Christ in Holy Communion while doing nothing to speak up the defence of unborn babies.

In the evening, I return to the tomb of John Paul II, to finish where I started. Just across the huge marble floor lies the incorrupt body of Blessed John 23rd. Both former Popes, due to be canonized as saints on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday next year. Blessed John 23RD, is still due another miracle, maybe it is Ireland? I follow the quite murmur of hundreds of pilgrims around the tombs of the Popes, saints, and, last but not least, to that of St Peter. So many great saints lie buried in this cathedral; I pray to each for their intercession for Ireland. And, to St Peter, the first Pope and the rock, upon which He built His church (Matthew 1:18). And then, onto the chapel of St Joseph, His beloved guardian. Ireland needs to renew our devotion to St Joseph, the greatest of all the saints and the terror of the devil.

A friend from Mayo, Eileen, texts that a catholic priest in the parish of St Mary’s Parish in Lucan has refused to permit a pro-abortion TD to be an extra-ordinary minister of the Eucharist. Praise God! His name is Fr Peter. If only our Bishops would follow his example. Instead, some choose to treat the Taoiseach like a VIP catholic permitting him to receive Holy Communion and endorsing his culture of death and the murder of babies made in Christ’s image and likeness. Do they not realise that each abortion is a crucifixion and sheds the body and blood of Christ?

We the people of Ireland, must steep ourselves in prayer. We must claim the protection of His most Precious Blood over our country and rebuke this evil from our shores, in Jesus name. So rise up, encourage others back to the faith of our fathers, who risked their very lives for the Eucharist. Families pray the rosary in your homes, and bring your children back to Christ. All will be well. Ireland and the world are now consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4-7). We will defeat this evil and the light of Christ will shine out from our country again, and be a light to the world.

A few more minutes at the tomb of Blessed John Paul 11 then the bell rings and it is time to go. I think of his closing words in Limerick in his last homily in Ireland “May Ireland never weaken in her witness before Europe and before the whole world, to the dignity and sacredness of all human life, from conception until death". Have you weakened?

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