When the Matt and Heather Ryan family in Texas wanted to have their children do a consecration to Mary, they looked to Holy Heroes, an apostolate that teaches children about the faith through family activities and catechetical series (HolyHeroes.com), revolving around daily downloadable prayers and video presentations.
When the Ferreira family in North Carolina was looking to do the same, they, too, looked to Holy Heroes and its brand-new “Marian Consecration Family Adventure.”
More than 3,400 families and even some schools signed up for the 33-day series that began Sept. 30 and ended Nov. 1. The next series begins Nov. 6.
“Requests to Holy Heroes to do the Marian consecration have been coming in for a long while,” said Clara Davison, 22, who developed this newest program. She made her Marian consecration as a high-school senior and renewed it this past spring with her fiancé, the final day of the consecration being on their wedding day.
Davison tailored the beautiful practice of Marian consecration and its preparation for families and children in the same way other Holy Heroes’ programs work. As the second oldest of Holy Heroes’ co-founders Ken and Kerri Davison’s eight children, she gained plenty of experience with developing these kinds of programs. The Davison children take part in the production in a variety of ways, such as being the “adventure guides” in each series to help children learn their Catholic faith in appealing ways. Helping Clara on this series were her teen sisters, Anna, 16, and Therese, 14.
Like No Other
Davison kept to the framework of the traditional 33 days — as proposed by St. Louis de Monfort in his premise of going to Jesus through Mary — leading up to and including consecration to Mary.
“We took three of the most famous Marian apparitions,” she said. “We focus on special messages from each one — Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lourdes and Fatima.”
She explained how Fatima and Lourdes appeal to children because the visionaries were children.
Each day along the 33-day journey, there are actual pictures from Lourdes and Fatima presented that bring the apparitions to life, such as footage of the “Miracle of the Sun” and documented miracles of Lourdes. “We use direct quotes from the apparitions,” she added. “We cannot be possibly more quotable than Our Lady, so why try.”
“I thought Clara’s idea of using the three apparitions would really capture the hearts of children, with plenty to ponder in the words of the Blessed Mother and the wonders and miracles which occurred,” said her dad, Ken, who encouraged her to take on this project. “It reveals Our Lady as a mother who is still intimately concerned and involved in the daily lives of her children here on earth in a way that every child can understand.”
Short and Sweet
The Marian consecration-adventure follows Holy Heroes’ proven pattern.
Once families sign up for the free program, they receive an email every day with a link that, with one simple click, takes them directly to the webpage program for that day, consisting of a short video under two minutes, a short daily devotional and a short prayer. Overall, the daily time frame runs less than 10 minutes.
The Ryans previously tried to do a Marian consecration journey using a book geared for children.
“We found quickly, though, that the daily readings, devotions and prayers were too long for our young children,” Heather Ryan told the Register. “We needed something more concise and visual to hold our boys’ interest and attention.”
Heather says she has “not been disappointed” with Holy Heroes’ “Marian Consecration Family Adventure.”
She observed how “the length of the videos matches well with the attention span of the younger two boys. I also like how Holy Heroes includes an explanation and background knowledge of the daily prayers.” Being hearing-impaired, Heather appreciated that captions were available in this series, too.
The Ryan sons all like the videos “and are able to recall what they have learned from a previous video,” she said.
Heather explained that this particular Marian consecration journey helps their boys who are “auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners. They are more captivated by the videos than having the same information simply read to them.”
She emphasized that the children “are learning from other children. It’s one thing to have Mom and Dad tell you something, or try to teach your something, but sometimes when others tell you the same thing, it can become more powerful, allowing the message to really ‘stick’ to you.”
Another plus: This Marian consecration is accessible to the whole family, she said. It allows “all of us to participate, learn and grow more spiritually with each day.”
Mark and Catherine Ferreira, their 12-year-old son, Damien, and 10-year-old daughter, Siena, have enjoyed making this Marian consecration as a family, too.
“I’m thrilled to have something at their age level,” Catherine said of the “beautiful way” this consecration is presented for youngsters’ understanding. “To have it at this level, where they can participate more fully, is such a gift for our families. It’s a great way to have more of a discussion and participation for them … so beautiful for all of us.”
She appreciates another family-friendly aspect — the daily program length. “The videos are short enough to do easily right before our family Rosary.” And being able to print out the daily prayers for the family makes this “a great resource.”
Catherine added, “If we are concerned [with] what we can do for our children in this world to live for God and for his Son, consecration to Mary is one of the best things we can do. It’s a great way to bring their hearts to love our Blessed Mother, have the veil of Mary over them, and adore her Son through consecration to her heart.”
With this consecration at “their learning level, their hearts will be entwined with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and then as they grow, going on to the more advanced consecrations available to us adults. I can see Mary smiling down.”
Joseph Pronechen is a Register staff writer.
The next Marian-consecration adventure begins Nov. 6 and ends 33 days later, Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Sign up for free at HolyHeroes.com.
Family Consecration to Mary in the Spirit of St. Maximilian Kolbe
Queen of heaven and earth, our life, our sweetness and our hope, on this day we the (family surname) family come before you to consecrate ourselves to you as your possession and property. We praise God because he has brought us together to give ourselves to you our Mother. We do this because Jesus said on the cross, “Behold your Mother.”
We need you, Mother Mary, to help us to be a truly Catholic family. Enter into our family life. Repeat to us the words you spoke at Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Help us to overlook one another’s faults, to forgive as Jesus has forgiven us, and to love one another as Our Lord has asked us to love.
Please use our family to crush the head of the serpent. Ask your spouse, St. Joseph, protector of the universal Church, to keep us one in mind and heart with your Son’s vicar, Pope___________.
Today you have become the Queen of our hearts and home. May our home be a “City of the Immaculata” where the Sacred Heart of Jesus reigns forever. Amen.