A Luminous Point for the New Evangelization

She is the singular star that draws us into the will of the Father by reminding us to “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:10).

Star and Sure Guide

At the close of his Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium), Pope John Paul II looked to Mary as the “Star of the New Evangelization” (NMI, 58), and in so doing, gave us a fixed luminous point that acts as the “radiant dawn and sure guide for our steps” (NMI, 58) as we seek to bring light into the darkness of our world (cf. Rv 12:1-5). In a powerful gesture on behalf of the Church, John Paul II, with a voice of “filial affection,” looked to Mary, and resounded the words of Jesus, saying, “Woman, behold your children” (cf. Jn 19:26), (NMI, 58). In every way, John Paul II entrusted the whole task of the new evangelization into the tender hands of Mary, the Mother of God. For the Church, Mary’s principle role as mother is to draw us deeper into the mystery of becoming new in her Son that culture might become more Christ-like in all of its modes of life and governance. In this vein, Mary is the mother of inculturation, a benchmark to the new evangelization.

The new evangelization has, as its end goal, the salvation of souls. An instrumental aspect of that is to bring the culture to bear witness to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We must be careful not to invert the order of priority between man and culture: man is a creation of God; culture is a creation of man. For this reason, individuals are called to convert; and, as a result, cultures will be transformed in truth. The process by which this takes place is called “inculturation,” which is “the intimate transformation of authentic cultural values through the integration in Christianity, and the insertion of Christianity in the various human cultures” (Redemptoris Missio, 52) (we will take a closer look at this when considering Our Lady of Guadalupe). The proclamation of Christ is at the very heart of this integration and insertion, and “is the permanent priority of mission” (RM, 44). In this way, the new evangelization has as outgrowth a “civilization of love.”

In the end, “It is Mary, the lowly Virgin from Nazareth, in whom a new beginning takes place, in which human existence starts fresh.” 1 Hence, we have the task to better understand this “lowly Virgin from Nazareth’ that we might do a better job of discovering our new beginning” with Jesus Christ.

Anawim’s Crown Jewel

Among other reasons, what makes Mary so important to Catholics and Christians is her motherhood. Thus, it is her fiat—her “yes”—to the angel Gabriel (cf. Lk 1:38) that emerges as the locus of her place in Christendom. Accordingly, Mary’s obedience of faith and unswerving faithfulness becomes essential to any understanding of her as a woman of profound humility. This is essential to understanding Mary’s model discipleship: her faithfulness that is born out of a spirituality of lowliness and meekness (cf. Mt 5:3, 5). In this sense, we can properly say that Mary is the crown jewel of the anawim of God—those “bent over” in the disposition of lowliness, and in turn, made ready to serve God. Poignantly, the Greek word for “meekness” is praus, which translates the Old Testament anawim.

Furthermore, it is in Mary’s “let it be to me” (Lk 1:34), and subsequent birth of Jesus, where we begin to discover Mary as the most definitive figure in history to proclaim the Word of God in word and deed. It is in her disposition of faithfulness that she emerges as an icon of “self-emptying”—an icon of kenosis—worthy of our imitation.

John Paul II, in his deliberation on Mary’s obedience of faith, stated that the description of the obedience of faith finds “the perfect realization in Mary” (RM, 13), which has its decisive moment in her fiat, “let it be to me” (Lk 1:38). This is so, he added, because she “entrusted herself to God completely” (RM, 13), accepting the announcement of the Angel Gabriel that she would be the Mother of God. He would later explain, echoing the words of the Church fathers, Mary “conceived in her mind, before she conceived in her womb” (RM, 13). Most strikingly, these words resonate with the attitude of faith that John Paul II defined in his post Vatican II work, Sources of Renewal, in which he explained the attitude of faith as relationship with God not yet in action. This is significant because this is what he asks of each and every one of us if the new springtime of faith is to be realized in the Church. We have much to learn from the way Mary “took up a position and was ready to act in accordance with it.” 2

With regard to the attitude of faith, there is a striking juxtaposition between the figures of Mary and Zechariah, the father of St. John the Baptist, which illuminates the uniqueness of Mary’s “yes.” In the leading episode of the Gospel of Luke, we read of the angel Gabriel’s appearance to Zechariah with the news that his wife Elizabeth was pregnant. Zechariah, in his response to this news that his wife was with child, was full of speculation and doubt. Consequently, Zechariah “fell silent and was unable to speak” until their son was born (cf. Lk 1:5-25). In a similar episode with the angel Gabriel, we have an announcement of extraordinary news, this time to a poor Jewish girl. In this case, the angel’s announcement is more of an angelic salutation: “Hail, full of grace” (Lk 1:28). Unlike the event just verses earlier, that was filled with speculation and doubt (one can infer that Luke wants us to see this point situating them so close to each other), Mary, while inquiring “how shall this be since I have no husband” (Lk 1:34), ultimately responds with a meritorious “yes” and becomes the Mother of God (cf. Lk 1:26-38). Whereas Zechariah was not predisposed to respond appropriately to the angel Gabriel, Mary’s attitude of faith, predisposes her to respond with an heroic “yes.”

The Annunciation, and its salute to the interior attitude of faith, is abundantly clear: from Mary’s acceptance and willingness to be a handmaid of God, to her unreserved and uncalculated act of faith, she proclaims with her “yes” to the angel Gabriel that she, indeed, is anawim’s perfection, and a model for us to follow.

A Marian Hymn to the Obedience of Faith

In addition to the importance of Mary’s self-emptying at the Annunciation, John Paul II makes another critical point to understanding Mary as it relates to the new evangelization. He stated: “Certainly, the Annunciation is the culminating moment of Mary’s faith in her awaiting of Christ, but it is also the point of departure from which her whole ‘journey toward God begins,’ her whole pilgrimage of faith” (Redemptoris Mater, 14). Here, John Paul II makes it clear, that her “yes’ (and our “yes”) is one that is only the beginning, and if we are to share in the mission of the Church, like Mary, we ought to see each moment overflowing with opportunities to abandon ourselves to God for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. It is in Mary, that we have the shining example of how the obedience of faith ought to form our identity in God.

In point of fact, Mary’s whole life was a hymn to poverty and the obedience of faith. Consider the ways in which her life was a reflection of her first “yes” in the Annunciation, and how her response of faith mediated the presence of her Son.

  • Visitation (Lk 1:39-57): Mary, in her obedient response to the angel Gabriel, “arises immediately” to visit her cousin Elizabeth as a source of blessing and grace for her child John who is to be the forerunner of her own Son, preparing the way. Mary, carrying the presence of Christ and having to endure the poverty of the unknown, brings about the leaping of John in the womb of Elizabeth.
  • Birth of Jesus (Lk 2:6-7; cf. Mt 1:25): Mary, in self-effacing poverty, delivers her child in the humble town of Bethlehem. In a more obvious way, Mary’s response of faith takes her to the manger where she mediates the Incarnation.
  • Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Lk 2:22-38): In this rite of purification, Mary submits to Mosaic Law as she offers the Christ child to God. In this offering, she gives the sacrifice of the lowly (cf. Lv12:1-8). This presentation to God would anticipate her future intercessory role for all the poor and lowly. Moreover, she mediates the consecration of the God-Man, and his being called “holy to the Lord” (Lk 2:23).
  • Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Lk 2:39-52): In this event, Mary’s poverty would reach a new kind of isolation as she had to overcome the fear of losing God. As some have called it, “Mary’s Dark Night.” Ultimately, this would be a kind of preparation for her sorrowful grief which she would have to undergo at the Cross. Furthermore, in this narrative, Mary teaches us the language of perseverance in pursuing Jesus.
  • Wedding Feast at Cana (Jn 2:1-12): Mary, upon listening to her Son’s idiomatic cry: “Woman, what does this have to do with me,” obediently responds “do whatever he tells you.” Here, her words “contribute to the ‘beginning of the signs’ that would be revealed through her Son” (RM a, 21). Once again, Mary mediates divinity.
  • Calvary (Jn 19:25-27): Mary’s obedience of faith takes her all the way to the immolation of her Son. In regard to Mary’s pilgrimage of faith that led her to Calvary, John Paul stated: “Through this faith, Mary is perfectly united with Christ in his self-emptying … At the foot of the Cross, Mary shares, through faith, in the shocking mystery of this self-emptying” (RM a, 18). John Paul II adds that this is “perhaps, the deepest kenosis of faith in human history.”

In this last example of Mary’s obedience to faith, Jesus gives Mary to us as our spiritual mother: “‘Woman, behold your son,’ and then he said to the disciple, ‘behold your mother’” (Jn 19:27). While the Church does not invoke Mary officially as Co-Redemptrix (a point under consideration by theologians and various pontifical commissions), we meet in her the one with, and through whom, Christ alone dispenses grace. The prefix “Co” comes from the Latin cum, which means “with.” Consequently, by using the term “Co,” the Church does not mean “equal to,” but “with.” In the words of the leading Marian theologian, Dr. Mark Miravalle, “Mary uniquely participated in the redemption of humanity, although in a completely subordinate and dependent matter of her Son”. 3 The self-emptying that started with the Annunciation comes to a profound climax in the Crucifixion. Indeed, a sword pierces the heart of Mary (cf. Lk 2:35) as she watches the brutal death of her Son. It is fitting, that Mary’s spiritual motherhood comes to us at this seminal point in salvation history as she now embarks upon this call to journey with us in our own task of uniting ourselves to the pierced heart of Christ.

More collectively, in the aforementioned examples of Mary’s “walk” in obedience of faith, we can begin to view Mary’s faith as “a kind of key that unlocks the innermost reality” of who she was and how she “made present to humanity the mystery of Christ” (RM a, 19). Under the radiance of her humility, she shines brightly for us the way to become the anawim of God. Like Mary, we are to possess the disposition of humility—”over,” constantly relying on God’s goodness for everything. Following the bright star of Mary’s surrender and obedience of faith, we are to learn and draw strength from, not only her fiat to the angel Gabriel, and every subsequent “yes” in Divine Revelation, but also what her “yes” points back to, doing the will of the Father.

A Marian Lesson

Reflecting further into the Marian dimension that offers for us many lessons, Luke presents for us a key point to digest when considering the importance of Mary as the model disciple. After the angels and the shepherds depart, praising the newborn king in Bethlehem (cf. Lk 2:13-18), we read that Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).  Consider all that she had to ‘ponder’ up to this point in Luke’s infancy narrative:

  • The Annunciation, where Mary received the news that she was to be the Mother of God (cf. Lk 1:26-38).
  • The Visitation, where Mary’s cousin, although barren due to age, was with child (cf. Lk 1:39-45.
  • The Magnificat, or Mary’s Song of Praise (cf. Lk 1:46-56).
  • The Birth of John the Baptist (cf. Lk 1:57-66).
  • The Birth of Jesus (cf. Lk 2:1-7).
  • The Shepherds and the Angels (cf. Lk 2:8-20).

Clearly, Mary was contemplating some extraordinary events that had already taken place. Interestingly, the Greek word for “pondering,” symballo, also means “to bring together, to compare and weigh facts,” or “to piece together.” In effect, Mary was balancing and counterbalancing, “weighing” and measuring the revelation that she was the Mother of God, who is now a baby. She did this by “keeping close to her heart” (Lk 2:18, 52) the value of everything she encountered. Essentially, what we see in Mary’s “pondering” is not only a ‘weighing,’ but also a “piecing together” of a series of events that she was slowly being made to understand. Mary does not boast of her “accomplishment” or “achievement” of becoming the Mother of God, rather she fades into the background until she is made to see each moment in its proper season.

Luke’s focus on Mary’s “pondering” prompts us to consider the importance of silence and her interior attitude of faith. What Mary teaches us in the infancy narrative is that our own existential walk in poverty is to include the poverty of words. Far too often, we are in haste to place a judgment upon something without “weighing” the significance of the moment. Mary’s model discernment is rooted in the idea that we are to journey with God in a poverty of voice, or a poverty of words that has us “piecing together” each and every moment for what it is, versus what it is not. Incidentally, the Latin word for “discernment” is discernere, which literally means “to separate; distinguish.” It is when we find ourselves speaking less about things, that we discover more about how God works, because God lives and breathes in the silence! And silence is where discernment abides.

For John Paul II, Mary is the Star of the New Evangelization, because she is our divine mother; but what should never be taken for granted is that this motherhood arrives at “the definitive accomplishment of the Redeemer’s Paschal Mystery” (RM a, 23). In other words, Mary is given to us as the universal mother precisely at the “deepest kenosis in human history.” If we are to enter into the mystery of our own call to proclaim Christ in word and deed, then we ought to enter into the mystery of Mary, as the mother of self-emptying, and the “Woman of the Eucharist” (EE, 53). 4

Woman of the Eucharist

John Paul II turned his gaze toward Mary’s motherhood in his encyclical on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, because of her “profound relationship” with her Son in the Eucharist (cf. EE, 53), and consequently, her role as “support and guide” in helping us as Catholics to acquire that interior disposition of spiritual poverty. This support and guidance enables us to abandon ourselves to God in the great mystery of faith in the Eucharist (cf. EE, 54). In this sense, we turn to her as the “Woman of the Eucharist.”

What lies at the center of our faith as Catholics is this call to share in the mystery of the Eucharistic sacrifice by uniting our whole lives with Christ crucified. It is Mary’s motherhood, the luminary that brightens our path, in which we truly discover what it means to be a Eucharistic people carrying within us the presence of God. In a most striking excerpt from Ecclesia de Eucharistia, John Paul II crystallizes for every Catholic the model that is before us in Mary as the “first tabernacle.” He stated: “In a certain sense, Mary lived her Eucharistic faith even before the institution of the Eucharist, by the very fact that she offered her virginal womb for the Incarnation of God’s Word … At the Annunciation Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of his body and blood, thus anticipating within herself what to some degree happens sacramentally in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord’s body and blood” (EE, 55). These words from John Paul II help us to better understand the place that Mary ought to have in our quest to be a repository of holiness for the sake of the world. Like Mary, our “yes” to the body and blood of Christ ought to lead us to not only the transformation of ourselves, but also the world.

Furthermore, the relationship from Mary to her Son in the Eucharist reveals an additional charism to Mary’s spirituality of poverty. There was a time in history when Mary was without the physical presence of her Son. For this reason, Mary would have sought out the priesthood to once again receive her Son. “For Mary, receiving the Eucharist must have somehow meant welcoming once more into her womb that heart which had beat in unison with hers and reliving what she had experienced at the foot of the Cross” (EE, 56). John Paul II’s reflection brings us back to that “deepest kenosis in human history” at the foot of the cross, and yet again, reveals to us why Mary is so important to us in our own journey of faithfulness as it relates to the Eucharist. If we are to properly bring the presence of Christ into the world, we must first welcome him and receive him in the Eucharist; that our hearts would be conformed to Christ.

At this point, I would like to consider the relevance of St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s Preparation for Total Consecration and how it is interwoven with the larger theme of Mary’s interior poverty with an eye towards evangelization.

Set Apart with Mary

By way of opening, let us first bring to light the depth that lies behind the meaning of consecration, especially as it relates to the gift and task that is the new evangelization. Man, by way of baptism, is consecrated unto God, made holy, set apart for a sacred purpose. Paul, in his first letter to the Church of Corinth, draws out this point of being “sanctified” for a holy purpose (cf. 2 Cor 6:11). He established this by using a particular Greek term, hagiazo, which means “set apart,” “make holy,” or “consecrate.” By using this term, he builds upon the Old Testament vision of holiness rooted in the Hebrew word, kadash, which similarly, means “made special,” “elevated,” or “eternal.” In the Old Testament, it was often “things (liturgical furniture) that were separated from the realm of secular life, and devoted to a sacred purpose”. 5 In baptism, the new dispensation of grace, things are not being set aside for a holy purpose, but persons—persons in Christ—and it is the holiness, or “righteousness” of Christ, that lies at the core of our new beginning, and why we are baptized into Christ’s own sonship. Pope Benedict XVI adds: “But this setting apart also includes the essential dynamic of “existing for.” Precisely because it is entirely given over to God, this reality is now for the world, for men, it speaks for them and exists for their healing”. 6 Essentially, our baptism, which sets us apart and calls us to mission “form(s) a single whole.” 7

Consequently, a consecration to Mary draws us deeper into the ways in which Mary helps us to be more holy in light of her own holiness. In essence, a consecration to Mary teaches us how to more faithfully live out our baptismal calling. This is what is set forth in St. Louis de Montfort’s Preparation for Total Consecration—how to be set apart with Mary. As we have already discovered Mary as the “Icon of Kenosis,” we can well imagine that a consecration that leads us to Mary is a consecration into the great kenosis of the cross.

With the hermeneutic of poverty at his side, this 18th century, saint from France arranges categorically how we are to attain the necessary graces of belonging entirely to Jesus through the hands of Mary. Below, you will find the structure as it is set up by de Montfort himself: 8

  • Part One: Spirit of the World (12 days)
  • Part Two: Knowledge of Self (7 days)
  • Part Three: Knowledge of Mary (7 days)
  • Part Four: Knowledge of Jesus (7 days)

In a wise arrangement of stages, St. Louis de Montfort envisions a gradual progression towards giving ourselves entirely over to Mary. Note, the first two stages of de Montfort’s four-step consecration taps into this truth that self- evangelization comes before mission. That is to say, before we can be sent forth in the task of evangelization, fulfilling our baptismal call to preach the Gospel in word and deed, we must first be clear in our understanding of the world, and subsequently, our need to possess knowledge of self. Only then will we find ourselves properly disposed to God, and more willing to be at the service of his Church, through the hands of Mary; only then will we have established the interior attitude necessary to give our own fiat to God in all of its humble grandeur!

Pope Francis and the Marian Consecration

As we discuss Marian consecration and what it calls us to in our Christian faith, it should come as no surprise that this is very important to the life of the Church. In point of fact, on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima, October 13,2013, Pope Francis will be consecrating the world to Mary. If we have followed the pontificate of Pope Francis closely, we have noticed that at every turn, Pope Francis has encouraged the spirituality that Mary embodied in her journey of faith. From the opening moments of his pontificate, as he stood on the balcony in astonishing humility requesting the prayer of the people, to the constancy to which he has called the faithful to live with a deeper sense of simplicity of heart, Pope Francis has made the interior attitude of faith, and the meekness that abides in it, the banner of his pontificate. This attitude is also revealed in the most recent news that his second encyclical (the first that will come from him entirely) will offer us a more complete understanding of poverty (certainly aspiring towards the great principle and virtue that his patron—St. Francis of Assisi—championed).

Moreover, by consecrating the world to Mary, Pope Francis is encouraging us to share in this consecration by dedicating our lives more fully to the Gospel message: a message that inspires a new identity in Christ with a new vision for the world. In other words, the Pope of the New World is suggesting that if we are to make the world new, then we must begin with a deeper sense of the same interior poverty that allowed Mary to embrace all things Christian, from the crib to the cross. For this reason, consecration to Mary ought to be seen as invaluable to the new evangelization. Once again, in God and for other “forms the single whole” that defines the Catholic mission of gift and task.

Speaking of the New World, let us now move forward with our reflection on Mary, as the Star, with a treatment of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Mother of Inculturation

Throughout the centuries, Mary has reportedly appeared in various places around the world. While some of these reports have been false, and can be chalked up to one’s overzealous behavior, others have been approved by the Church for their authentic fruit and message that is congruent with the Gospel. Among the many approved apparition sites, the one that stands by itself in history, for its transformation and impact upon a culture, is that of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary’s appearance in then Tenochtitlan (Mexico City today) on Tepeyac Hill is one of the finest examples of inculturation we have in the history of the Church. As John Paul II stated in his Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in America (The Church in America):

The appearance of Mary to the native, Juan Diego, on the hill of Tepayac in 1531, had a decisive effect on evangelization. Its influence greatly overflows the boundaries of Mexico, spreading to the whole continent. America, which has historically been, and still is, a melting pot of peoples, has recognized in the mestiza face of the Virgin of Tepayac, in Blessed Mary of Guadalupe, an impressive example of a perfectly inculturated evangelization. (EA, 11)

Therefore, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as the mother of inculturation, belongs in this reflection on the new evangelization.

It was on December 9, 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to attend morning Mass, that he heard birds break into song. Immediately, the recent Christian convert rushed to see where the noise was coming from. Upon arriving at the top of Tepeyac Hill, he beheld a woman who was clothed with the sun and adorned in a mantle of stars. The woman announced herself as “Mother of the Most High.” She requested that the local bishop build a temple in her honor. The humble Juan Diego took the request to Bishop Juan Zumarraga, and after listening to Juan Diego’s appeal on behalf of the Virgin, the bishop had a request of his own. He requested that the heavenly woman perform a sign for confirmation. On December 12, just three days later, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac Hill. It was then that this Virgin of light asked Juan Diego to take his tilma, gather up the roses that were in bloom, and take them to the bishop. The miracle of the roses in bloom in the dead of winter would be a sign of something extraordinary. Upon Juan Diego’s return to the bishop, he opened up his poncho-like garment, and the roses fell to the ground. But it was not the roses that grabbed the attention of Bishop Zumarraga and his associates; it was the tilma itself. The bishop and his associates were brought to their knees with a picture that was embedded into the tilma; an image of a woman clothed in light. As the story goes, it was then that Bishop Zumarraga vowed to adhere to the request of the Virgin, to build a new temple in her honor.

That being said, it is here where we pause to reflect further into the significance of this image of the Virgin. For the mantle is a canvas where we are made to read the richness behind Mary’s grasp of inculturation. Consider the following:

  • The cincture around her waist was an Aztec sign of pregnancy—Mary was bringing with her the birth of a new life in her Son.
  • The sun, moon, and stars were all deities of the ancient Aztecs—Mary was announcing herself as the Queen of the hosts of Heaven, and more powerful than the pagan deities.
  • Tepeyac Hill was the location of an ancient feminine goddess—Mary had arrived on that same hill as the revelation of true feminine genius.
  •  Mary is crushing the serpent in the image—this is significant because the serpent was a prominent divinity for the Aztecs.
  • Recent science has claimed that the stars on her mantle are of the constellation Virgo (most astonishingly they appear positioned as the constellation would have appeared on the date of December 12, 1531)—Mary appears as the true Virgin of the Stars. 

It has been reported that, within a timeframe of 10 years, over nine million Aztecs had converted to the new Christian faith. Mary went into the heart of a culture with the purpose of bringing the Indian people to a deeper understanding of the divine by transforming their understanding of the divine. She took the images and signs that represented their cult and gave them a new cult, a new worship. Our Lady of Guadalupe made man new, and in turn, the culture of Tenochtitlan was transformed in truth.

One of the more poignant truths regarding the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the fact that it is the only “art” work that comes from the finger of God. There have been many pieces inspired through the centuries, but nothing like this, literally from the creative genius of the mind and heart of God. Researchers tell us that the tilma was woven from cactus-fiber. It is fitting that God would pick something so simple as a tilma made from cactus fiber to reveal his own masterpiece, the Virgin of Guadalupe—the Mother of Inculturation. 9


By way of closing, what is important for us to see is that, it is not just that Mary brings about the Presence of her Son, but that she does so in a spirituality of lowliness and surrender. Out of this lowliness, Mary offers us an example and model of how to properly discern right from wrong, good from evil. She is the singular star that draws us into the will of the Father by reminding us to “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:10). Incidentally, these are the last words recorded of Mary in sacred Scripture. Mary intercedes on our behalf as the “Woman of the Eucharist” because she bears the light that transforms—the light that transformed a whole nation 500 years ago. She asks us to have the same impact upon our culture 500 years later, and we can do so by consecrating ourselves to Jesus through the hands of Mary.

  1. Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives (New York: Doubleday, 2012), 8.
  2. Wojtyla, Karol. Sources of Renewal: The Implementation of the Second Vatican Council (Harper and Row Media: San Francisco, CA, 1980), 205.
  3. Miravalle, Mark. Introduction to Mary: The heart of Marian Devotion and Doctrine (Santa Barbara: Queenship Publishing, 1993), 68. For more on Mary’s spiritual motherhood, cf. pp. 59-83.
  4. John Paul II titled his concluding chapter in Ecclesia de Eucharistia: At the School of Mary: “Woman of the Eucharist.”
  5. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament, 2nd ed. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010). Edit. by Hahn, Scott and Minch, Curtis, 291.
  6. Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth. Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, 86.
  7. Ibid, 86.
  8. St. Louis de Montfort. Total Preparation for Consecration. 16th ed. (Montfort Publication: New York, 2001), 1.
  9. For an extensive treatment into the relationship between Our Lady of Guadalupe and her link to the new evangelization, cf. Anderson, John and Chavez, Eduardo. Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother of the Civilization of Love (New York: Doubleday, 2009).
Dr. Joseph R. Hollcraft About Dr. Joseph R. Hollcraft

Dr. Joseph Hollcraft has taught at the Middle School, High School, and University level. During that period, Dr. Hollcraft also hosted the radio broadcast, Seeds of Truth, which reached thousands of listeners in over 40 countries. Seeds of Truth radio can still be found as an iTunes podcast. Currently, Joseph Hollcraft is a Professor and Director of the High Calling Program with the Avila Institute.

Dr. Hollcraft is also the author of A Heart for Evangelizing (Emmaus Road, 2016) and Unleashing the Power of Intercessory Prayer (Sophia Institute, 2020). Among others, Joseph has been published with aleteia.org and the Catechetical Review, and is a regular contributor to the blog at spiritualdirection.com.

Joseph earned his B.A. and M.A. from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and received his PhD from Graduate Theological Foundation with studies completed at Oxford University.

Most importantly, Joseph is a devoted husband and father. He lives in Canal Fulton, OH with his beautiful wife, Jackie, and their four children: Kolbe, Avila, Isaac, and Siena.


  1. Dear Dr. Hollcraft,

    Thanks so much for your article on Mary: “A Luminous Point for the New Evangelization”. You expressed many truths that have been in my mind and heart for a long time. By God’s Grace, I consecrated myself to Jesus through Mary, praying St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration many years ago; I renew my consecration often. De Montfort’s 33 Day Preparation for Consecration is a help to my Baptismal commitment . Each time I re-read St. Louis’ treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, I learn more.

    It was also an encouragement to read words from a man of faith. Unfortunately some think devotion to Mary is more for women than men, but you have written well: Mary is Mother and Model for everyone! St. Louis wrote: “If then, as is certain, the knowledge and the kingdom of Jesus Christ must come into the world, it can only be as a necessary consequence of the knowledge and reign of Mary. She who first gave Him to the world will establish His kingdom in the world.” — paragraph 13 of his treatise on “True Devotion”.

    As Pope Francis consecrates the world to Our Lady of Fatima, may we renew our own “Yes” to God with Mary, and be ready to give Jesus as she did. May all experience the reality: The Church exists to evangelize!

  2. Avatar Tom McGuire says:

    Surprised that there is no mention of the Magnificat, although the spirit of that prayer appears throughout the article.

  3. Avatar Joanne D'Alessio says:

    If you bring Mary into your life, especially through deMontfort’s Consecration, you will see just how powerful a change you will encounter. She is the “Pearl of Great Price.” If you try to live the Consecration you will find that she is always accompanied by her Son Jesus and will communicate Him to you. Hail Mary!!