BY HANNAH CRITES
The Rev. Michael Gaitley, MIC, said that “there is a real urgency” for the world to consecrate itself to Jesus through Mary in his talk on Nov. 6 in the Gentile Gallery. Gaitley is so passionate about this message that he was willing to speak despite coming down with food poisoning and having limited time to plan for the talk, which was scheduled less than a week before he came.
“Mary is on the move right now in a very big way,” Gaitley said. “She is acting in a very powerful, very amazing way. We are in the midst of the second largest push or maybe soon the largest push of Marian consecration.” The largest push of Marian consecration occurred in the 1920s and 1930s in Eastern Europe, preparing it for World War II, said Gaitley. St. Maximilian Kolbe, who is known for volunteering to die in the place of a stranger in Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp, was the leader of this movement.
Kolbe studied Marian apparitions, particularly Our Lady of Guadeloupe. He was amazed that before the apparition Spanish missionaries struggled to spread the faith and bring an end to the practice of human sacrifice in Mexico. However, after the appearance of Our Lady, flood gates of grace opened and people converted by the millions. Kolbe realized that where Mary was, there was the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Kolbe knew that St. Louis de Montfort’s total consecration to Mary was a quick, easy route to grace and growth in faith. He founded a monastery and gathered over 800 monks to print and distribute magazines spreading this message. These magazines spread like wildfire, especially in Poland, which later lost almost 17 percent of its population in World War II.
Inspired by Kolbe, Gaitley said he believed that we are in the midst of the second push of widespread consecration to Mary. Gaitley’s book, “33 Days of Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration,” is playing a large role in this movement. Over two million books have been sold worldwide and millions of free editions have been given to dioceses and colleges both nationally and internationally.
Gaitley wrote the book in just 10 days with the goal of making an updated version of de Montfort’s total consecration that was easier to use and able to reach more people today. Once the book was published, stores and conferences struggled to keep it in stock as copy after copy sold. Hundreds of people reported a change in their spiritual life.
For example, a group of 17 protestant women wanted to learn more about Mary as the Mother of Christ and approached a Catholic priest for a bible study. He referred them to Gaitley’s book. Thirty-three days later, all 17 women signed up for that same parish’s R.C.I.A. program, wanting to convert.
When parishioners at a church in California consecrated themselves to Mary using Gaitley’s book, the parish, which had previously struggled to revere Mary and understand the importance of the rosary, experienced a transformation.
“Mary is moving,” said Gaitley. “She really wants to bring her children under her mantle, for whatever is coming, hopefully it’s a spring time, maybe another suffering. We are in the midst, especially as we put millions and millions of books in their hands. It needs to get out there to everyone.”
Gaitley encouraged his listeners to take a free copy of his book as well as extras to give to others. It only requires one page a day and is “finals friendly,” he said. He called it the “quickest, easiest, surest way to holiness.”
Gaitley is an alumni of Franciscan University of Steubenville from the class of 1999. He was ordained a priest in 2010 and is now the director of the Association of Marian Helpers, a spiritual benefit society of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.