Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Peace and blessings to you. I pray that this letter finds you well and enjoying the blessings of this Lenten season. May this be a season of grace and spiritual renewal.

Since the announcement of the HHS mandate we all have shared a common concern regarding the result of this mandate. By the grace of God, in their response to this mandate, our bishops have blessed us by their actions and words. Each of them has embodied the heart and voice of the Good Shepherd, in their teaching and proclaiming of the human dignity of each person, and that each person, born and unborn, is sacred in the eyes of God. In doing this they have reminded each of us of our responsibility to live out the teachings of the Church and to protect the privileges, including the freedom of religion, which we have received from the founding fathers of our country. In this time of testing and challenge, we have much for which to be grateful to God, who has given us diligent shepherds to teach us and to guide us.

On January 2012 Cardinal O’Malley wrote a letter to the Archdiocese of Boston in which he encouraged us to “commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail and religious liberty may be restored.” Inspired by these words, I would like to invite you to join the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth in prayer and fasting on the first Saturday of each month, from March through November. In this novena of nine first Saturdays we will entrust our Church here in America, and the presidential election in November, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Recall the prayer of Blessed John Paul II when he entrusted the world to the Blessed Mother at the beginning of the new Millennium. He invited us to be like the Apostle John, and to take Mary into our homes and into our hearts.

The recent challenges we have faced as Catholics are a clear echo of Blessed John Paul II’s motivation in this dedication. As we are reminded how much our country needs the maternal care and protection of our Blessed Mother. Therefore I would invite you to join us in this act of prayer for our Church, and our country. I would also encourage you to consider sharing this proposal of prayer with others, so that united in one purpose and one voice, we may be spiritually strengthened, our Church may be renewed, and we may truly become the beacon of God’s love which our country so desperately needs. Our single prayer may seem like a small and perhaps insignificant act, but let us remember Our Lord’s parable of the mustard seed. Though we may seem small and weak and it may seem as if our actions have no power, if we have faith we will be able to move mountains.

To Mary, dawn of Salvation, we entrust our prayers. As the Lord sent to the Israelites a pillar of cloud to guide them by day during their walk in the desert, and a pillar of fire to give them light and guide them by night, may Mary be the bright star to guide our Church and our country.

Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart,

M. Olga S.H

Servant Mother of Daughters of Mary of Nazareth

“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s Will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone.” – Blessed Pope John Paul II

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