Chicagoland

Youth group members consecrate themselves to Mary

By Julio Rangel | Chicago Católico
June 20, 2018

Youth group members consecrate themselves to Mary

Twenty-one members of the youth group Iskali consecrated their lives at an April 28 Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop John Manz at Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights.
Dancers perform before a Mass at Misión San Juan Diego April 28. Auxiliary Bishop John Manz and Father Ronald Hicks, vicar general for the Archdiocese of Chicago, presided at a commissioning ceremony for 21 Spanish-speaking laypeople who consecrated their lives to Mary. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
José Barrera wipes away tears as he professes his devotion to Mary with his wife, Graciela, and daughter Stephanie during a commissioning ceremony April 28, 2018, at Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Auxiliary Bishop John Manz and Father Ronald Hicks, vicar general for the Archdiocese of Chicago, present Vicente Del Real Alvarez with a ring during a ceremony in which 21 members of the Iskali youth group consecrated themselves to Mary April 28, 2018, at Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Auxiliary Bishop John Manz and Father Ronald Hicks, vicar general for the Archdiocese of Chicago, preside at an April 28, 2018, commissioning ceremony for 21 laypeople at Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Ariadna L. Nunez Martinez signs the statues of the Iskali youth group during an April 28, 2018, ceremony. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Adrian Ramirez, Lauran Angelica Villa Ocampo, Ricardo Noel Ramos and Rosalinda Ramos pronounce the prayer of consecration to Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Auxiliary Bishop John Manz and Father Ronald Hicks, vicar general for the Archdiocese of Chicago, preside at a commissioning ceremony for 21 laypeople at Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights on April 28, 2018. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
A deacon places statues of the Holy Family at the consecration ceremony. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Bishop John Manz elevates the Blood of Christ during Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Ricardo Noel Ramos prays following Communion at a Mass at which 21 laypeople consecrated themselves to Mary April 28. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Members of the Barrera family receive congratulations from a family member following Mass at Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights on April 28. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

A group with a mission to evangelize young Hispanics in the United States now has 21 Chicago-area members who have consecrated their lives to Mary.

 

The young people, members of the youth group Iskali, consecrated their lives at an April 28 Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop John Manz at Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights.

“It is all about making a promise recognized by the church,” said Vicente del Real, leader of Iskali. “It is a promise that you will live according to the teachings and precepts of the church to dedicate your life to a specific mission.”  

Father Diego Berrío, the canonical advisor and spiritual director of the consecrated group, told Chicago Católico that the consecration practice is not new. 

“It was mainly an idea by St. Louis de Montfort, a French saint who had the vision of this consecration to Mary,” he said. “Simply, the purpose is, as a baptized faithful, to live our baptismal promises in a more intentional way.” 

About 50 members of Iskali started the two-year discernment period, which included spiritual exercises, a preparation process of six months with weekly community meetings, and monthly meetings with their spiritual directors. 

At the end, 21 were ready to consecrate their lives to the Virgin Mary.

“It is a special promise,” said del Real. “They signed an acknowledgment about what their responsibilities are.” 

One family decided to consecrate themselves together. Stephanie Barrera, 19, a member of Iskali who attends Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, encouraged her parents and her boyfriend to walk the path to consecration together. 

“I started my spiritual life two years ago,” said Stephanie Barrera, “and I devoted myself a lot to the Mount Carmel youth group. Then, I started going to the Iskali retreats and became part of the group.” 

“Iskali helped me a lot to fall in love with God and to see how impactful it is to serve him,” Barrera said. “Honestly, I fell in love with the Virgin of Guadalupe, with the ‘yes’ she gave to God.” 

Has it been difficult?

“Truth is, yes,” she said. “It has been a spiritual process where I have had my doubts, my joys and my faults as a Catholic, but God is always with me, and I know he is doing the best for me.”

Stephanie’s parents are part of the adult group of Iskali. Her father, José Barrera, said the process was a little difficult, “but when you put everything on the hands of God, it is not hard.”

“To consecrate as a family is a big blessing,” José Barrera said. “The consecration is a way to thank and ask the Virgin Mary to intercede for us. And through her, to be able to evangelize a little bit more. To create awareness in the parents’ group to the families that many times are not that united.”

The decision also included Omar Martínez, Stephanie’s boyfriend.

“I really wanted to know more about religion,” says Martínez. “That was the next step towards my spiritual growth. It was a way to give more of myself to the church, to know God more through the Virgin Mary.”

Martínez, 24, says he thinks it’s “incredible and fascinating” to see the consecration as part of that process of getting to know yourself and to know spirituality, “and getting to know God better as well.”

“This consecration can be done by anyone,” Berrío said. “But it has no legal link. It is simply a devotional act.”
The priest says the consecrated are following the guidance of St. Louis de Montfort and added that the date of the consecration is usually chosen to coincide with a Marian feast. He said that 33 days before the consecration, the participants do spiritual exercises. “Every day they have a spiritual reading,” he said, “some prayers and some pious practices that are leading them towards the purpose they want to achieve.”

“The members of Iskali wanted to keep April 28 because it is a special day for the group. We realized it wasn’t a Marian date, but, among the days of the week, we decided Saturday is the day dedicated to Mary.”

Topics:

  • youth ministry
  • consecration to mary

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