Faithful from in and around Portland, Ore. filled St. Mary’s Cathedral to overflowing on June 28 for Archbishop Alexander Sample's Mass consecrating the archdiocese to Our Lady of Fatima.
The Mass and consecration, celebrated on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, were offered particularly for the strengthening of marriage and family life.
“Marriage and family life are in a real crisis. We make this consecration to her to watch over our families and marriages. Families need Our Lady's love and protection,” the Archbishop said during the homily, according to the Catholic Sentinel.
Todd Cooper, Special Assistant to Archbishop Sample, told CNA June 30 that Pope Francis' consecration of his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima, as well as his consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, spurred Archbishop Sample to do the same for Portland.
“That kind of planted a seed for him,” Cooper said, “and he has a strong Marian devotion.”
The Archbishop also found an urgent spiritual need to offer the archdiocese’s efforts of strengthening marriage and families to Mary for her intercession.
“He’s come to the realization that we need to look beyond our own efforts and our own resourcefulness in trying to evangelize the culture and our people,” Cooper said. “We need to look for spiritual support for that and he thought there would be no better way.”
Additionally, Archbishop Sample is inviting families and faithful to participate in First Saturday devotions, as Our Lady of Fatima encouraged.
On the first Saturday of the month the faithful are asked to: go to confession (preferably on a first Saturday, but within eight days before or after one), receive Holy Communion (in a state of grace), pray five decades of the Rosary (one set of mysteries), and spend 15 additional minutes in meditation (on one or more mysteries of the Rosary).
All of these actions should be offered for the intention of making reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Blessed Mother promised that if this is accomplished on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, she will assist the faithful at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation.