At noon Mass today the Oratory was nearly filled to capacity with a collection of Ave faculty and staff, area residents and hundreds of students on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At the conclusion of the Mass, our students and all in attendance read a prayer of consecration to Jesus through Mary. Their voices thundered like a battle cry, and indeed, to choose Mary is to declare sides in the battle that Scripture describes:
“A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Because she was with child, she wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky: it was a huge dragon, flaming red…the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, ready to devour her child when it should be born. She gave birth to a son - a boy destined to shepherd all the nations…” (Book of Revelations, Chapter 12)
Today’s gathering was a prelude to our March 25th celebration of the Annunciation when Bishop Dewane will consecrate the University itself to the Immaculate Heart. We will spend the next semester preparing for this seminal moment in the life of the University and continue to encourage community members to seek Jesus through Mary as St. John Paul II, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and others teach us.
After the Mass the Oratory spilled out on to the plaza for fine Mexican cuisine (the food was way better than our typical “Taco Tuesdays”!) and mariachi music. We had dozens of our friends from neighboring Immokalee, many of whom were of Mexican descent, join us in the fiesta. The sun was brilliant and the mood was festive – even if final exams begin tomorrow!
Thank you for helping us build “a special place prepared for her by God” (Revelations 12 again) at Ave Maria University! And students, good luck with finals!