Marian Movement of Priests International
Retreat in Collevalenza, Italy-2007
by Fr. Charles Becker, Co-director
This past summer’s retreat was held from June 24th to the 30th. Fr. Gobbi is now 77 years old, joking about his age from time to time, but seems to be in good health and is animated as ever! There were approximately 275 priests and 15 Bishops in attendance.
Fr. Gobbi generally begins the retreat with his reflections on the first day (Monday) and usually concludes the retreat with his reflections on the last day of the retreat (Friday). On the other three days the meditations (reflections) are given by other priests of the Movement, which this year included Fr. Michael Gaughran of England for two days and Fr. Francis Geremia of Canada for one day. I would like to share with you some basic points of Fr. Gobbi’s talks and simply give you the titles of the talks of the other priests. Fr. Geremia spoke of “contemplative prayer” particularly as it relates to those consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the MMP. Fr. Gaughran had four talks entitled:
1. The Mystery of the Cenacle
2. In the Person of Christ, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary
3. The Cenacle, channel of the mediation of grace
4. My Hour has Come (the urgency of Her Work) (my words in italics)
Before sharing with you some of Fr. Gobbi’s thoughts, some of you may be interested in the basic retreat format. The basic routine of each day of the spiritual exercises or retreat begins with 7:00 AM Morning Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours) chanted in Latin and the First Part of the Rosary in Italian, then breakfast in silence followed by the First Meditation. After a brief break we meet in the Main Chapel for the Second Part of the Rosary in Latin followed by the Celebration of Holy Mass in Latin, presided over by a Bishop and usually at least once by a Cardinal of the Roman Curia. After Mass we all break for Lunch (Dinner), and we are all free to visit. Following the Italian siesta, we resume our prayer just past mid-afternoon with Vespers (Evening Prayer) and the Second Meditation. Once again after a brief break we meet for “fraternity” whereby priests representing various parts of the world share with everyone the “Movements” progress or status in their region. This then is followed by a Holy Hour of Adoration along with the recitation of the Third Part of the Rosary in various languages per decade. The day then concludes around 8:00 PM with a light supper followed by Night Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours).
Fr. Gobbi’s thoughts each year basically follow the theme of his yearly circular letter that anyone belonging to the Marian Movement of Priests may receive at the beginning of every year simply by registering with the Movement. You may register by writing or calling the Movement’s Headquarters in St. Francis, Maine (PO Box 8, St. Francis, Maine 04774-0008), or phone us at 207-398-3375.
Fr. Gobbi’s 2007 Circular Letter had as a theme “The Glory of Mary”. He began his letter with, “The task that has been entrusted to the Marian Movement of Priests, in this time of the purification and the great tribulation, is that of proclaiming The Glory of Mary to the Church and to all humanity.” In his talks in Italy Fr. Gobbi helped us to see that the pride of Satan is often at the root of disseminating error in the Church. He said that the DNA of Satan is “pride”, so that when we see pride, we can be sure of the presence of a demon. Satan said “You will become like gods”, see…pride! How does he trick us?…with pride! Satan will succeed in seducing the world with pride. With pride he took people from God, through practical atheism, through materialism, through being enslaved to technological idols, pleasure, etc. Fr. Gobbi reminded us to look at how many people go to church vs. the discotheques, sports bars, etc. on Sunday! He said the Law of God is violated by the pride of man, e.g. First Commandment – You shall not have strange gods before me (He is not honored); Third Commandment – Keep holy the Sabbath (has become a day of entertainment); Fourth Commandment – Honor your Parents (the family is not just threatened but destroyed, due to sex before marriage, justification of homosexual unions, etc…these are grave sins that are justified today).
Fr. Gobbi reminds us that the devil makes a strong army with the “powerful and the rich of this world”, but the devil will be humiliated. All this power the Lord allows him to have is ultimately meant to humiliate him, because he will not be defeated by God directly but by a human creature – the Blessed Mother; “The task that is referred to Her!”, as She says in Her Messages. She is “…another sign in heaven, the woman clothed with the sun” (and there was a great applause by the priests gathered). Fr. Gobbi referred to the Message of Nov. 9, 1984 to help us see how this battle is unfolding in our times.
In a time when it seems as though there are plenty of things that can cause discouragement, Fr. Gobbi reminds us to go forward with Divine Providence. He says the “book” is diffused everywhere. In Brazil the stadiums are filled and also throughout Latin America and that after 30 years of spiritual exercises and 1300 trips, having only begun with 20 priests, we will see many young come afterwards. Providence provides Fr. Gobbi with the force and direction to continue especially after his heart attack when he was told to be careful, and when he was fearful of another heart attack, he said Our Lady said, “Why? Wasn’t one enough for you?!” Fr. Gobbi said, “So that is why I keep going at 77 years old.” And so Fr. Gobbi reminds us in one of his favorite analogies to allow ourselves to be carried like little babes in Our Lady’s arms, completely dependant and completely docile to the Mother- Our Mother!
There are many such insights Fr. Gobbi has for us to be encouraged in these hours of darkness and a steady reading of Our Lady’s messages give clarity and encouragement to the walk we find ourselves in at these historic times. If you need an updated version of Our Lady’s Messages ending in 1997 please contact the MMP Headquarters. A free will donation is appreciated but Our Lady doesn’t want money to be an obstacle to the spreading of Her messages so please write or call at the above mentioned information.
With Prayers and God’s Blessings!
And Our Lady’s too!