Marian Movement of Priests
We have seen in the flower accounts from the apparition sites of Montichiari, Italy and Lipa, Philippines that Our Lady asked us to pray especially for priests and religious. In northern Italy in the region of Lake Como, not far from Montichiari and Ghiaie di Bonate Our Lady chose the Italian Priest, Father Stefano Gobbi, to convey messages specifically geared for her “beloved sons,” the priests of the world.
Back in 1972 when Father Gobbi was on a pilgrimage to Fatima, he prayed in the Chapel of Apparitions for some priests that he knew who were in danger of losing their vocation. Interiorly he was inspired to be hopeful that the Immaculate Heart of Mary would intercede before Jesus for these prayer intentions. As more and more priests were abandoning the priesthood in the 1970’s, Father Gobbi felt called to form an apostolate of priests consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary who would be unwaveringly obedient to the teachings of the Church and loyal to the Pope. Father Gobbi imagined that an apostolate of Priests and laity would generate holiness in the Church and the solidarity of priests obedient to the Magisterium of the Church could lead to the long promised Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Father Gobbi asked the Virgin for a sign confirming her desire to start a movement of Marian priests. Within the month he experienced the confirming sign.
In October 1972 Father Gobbi hosted three priests at an inaugural prayer meeting marking the beginning of the Marian Movement of Priests. By March of the next year the number of priests had grown to forty. Today the apostolate known as the Marian Movement of Priests (MMP) has spread throughout five continents and has millions of participating clergy and laity.
Members consecrate their lives to Jesus through Mary. They gather in prayer cenacles modeled after the first Pentecost for prayer, specifically prayer of the rosary and fraternal sharing. Father Gobbi made hundreds of trips to all parts of the world to participate in prayer cenacles, explaining the charism of the Marian Movement of Priests to priests and laity, and to disseminate the messages the Virgin has given to “her beloved sons.”
For almost twenty-five years Father Gobbi was given messages from the Virgin in the form of interior locutions. The messages are meant primarily for priests. They have been compiled chronologically into the book To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons. Among the many messages the Virgin gave on various topics and attitudes within the contemporary Catholic Church, she spoke extensively about the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart. For decades we have heard about that hopeful promise, but Our Lady delves into the spiritual meaning of the triumph in several messages all throughout the book. When Our Lady told Jacinta, Francesco and Lucia that her Immaculate Heart would triumph she spoke in simple terms as a mother to a young child. However, Our Lady expounds on these matters in her messages to the priests. The lengthy explanations are meant for priests because they are our teachers of the faith and our shepherds. Priests will most easily understand the theological importance of the points Our Lady makes. Their consecrated lives compel them to transmit the hope of triumph to their flock. Our Lady explains these mysteries in an eloquent and motherly way.
Of the many interior locutions that Father Gobbi received, several evoke the imagery of flowers to explain theological mysteries. A few flower messages are given as points of contemplation. The Virgin requested that we offer her our flowers of prayer, flowers of trust, and flowers of love during the month of May. She said, “Let the month of May, especially consecrated to me, be a precious occasion for you to entrust yourselves to me with the offering of your little flowers of mortification, the frequent recitation of the holy rosary, and a more intense living of the consecration to my Heart.”
Father Gobbi traveled extensively all over the world holding prayer cenacles and Mass with hundreds of priests and thousands of lay people. Thousands and thousands of priests and faithful Catholics consecrated themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the march to the triumph continues. The Virgin Mary explained to Father Gobbi on November 12, 1985, “Then all my little children who, from every part of the world, have answered me with a yes and who have consecrated themselves to me and whom I am now cultivating in silence and in hiddenness, will open up like fragrant flowers to announce the new season of the triumph of my Immaculate Heart. I bless you all with love and joy.”
In a very early message given December 19, 1973, Our Lady describes the state of the world when the triumph will take place. She said, “…at the very moment when satan will be enthroned as lord of the world and will think himself now the sure victor, I myself will snatch the prey from his hands. In a trice he will find himself empty-handed and in the end the victory will be exclusively my Son’s and mine. This will be the triumph of the Immaculate Heat in the world. If all the priests of my Movement only knew with what care they have been chosen and molded by me to prepare them for this great task.”
What will be the consequences of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary? We aren’t given to know, but some of the messages offer us some clues. Our Lady said, “…the reunion of all Christians in the Catholic Church will coincide with the triumph of my Immaculate Heart in the world. This reunited Church, in the splendor of a new Pentecost, will have the power to renew all the people of the earth. The world will believe in Him whom the Father has sent, and will be completely renewed in His Spirit of Love.” Also in the message of October 16, 1991 the Virgin told Father Gobbi, “I confirm to you that, after the triumph of my Immaculate Heart, there will remain in these countries of yours, solely this one and only true Church.” The final message given to Father Gobbi on December 31, 1997 says, in part, “…In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. This will come about in the greatest triumph of Jesus, who will bring into the world His glorious reign of love, of justice and of peace, and will make all things new. Open your hearts to hope. Throw open the doors to Christ who comes to you in glory. Live the trembling hour of this second Advent.”
Father Gobbi died on June 29, 2011, the Feast of Saint Peter and Paul, after suffering a heart attack earlier that month. Upon learning of his death, Pope Benedict XVI said, “He went straight to Heaven.”