CNS photo/Bob Roller

Marian novena an ‘Ice bridge’ moment

  • January 21, 2022

Dennis Girard considers the Canada54 Novena from Jan. 6 to Feb. 28 an “ice bridge” moment for the Marian Devotional Movement.

The movement is asking for Mary’s intercession so that when it launches its nation-wide Our Lady of the Cape Pilgrim Statue Tour (May 1-June 22) “there will be no need for mandates and other measures that separate and divide your children.”

“The response to the novena has been quite remarkable because it is ordered towards a message of hope,” said Girard. “We desire that by the month of May, as Mary comes to visit her children through replica statues of Our Lady of the Cape, we will have an opportunity to really give her the proper veneration without worrying about restrictions or mandates. We are calling this our ‘ice bridge moment.’ ”

Girard, co-founder of the Marian Devotional Movement alongside his wife Angelina, is referring to The Miracle of the Ice Bridge at Cap-de-la-Madeleine near Trois-Rivieres, Que.

In 1879, because of increased Marian devotion sparking such a rise in church attendance at the shrine in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Fr. Luc Desilets established a new parish across the St. Lawrence River to accommodate the larger flock. One problem: a very mild winter meant the water did not freeze as planned. A miracle was needed to courier the building stones over the river. The people prayed the rosary for several days, asking for the Blessed Mother to provide for them. The prayer was answered, and an ice bridge formed allowing parishioners access to the land.

Girard is hoping the collective prayer of every person participating in the novena — either in small groups or individually — will inspire another miracle from the Blessed Mother.

The final date of this tour, June 22, marks the 75th anniversary of the 1947 Marian Congress in Ottawa. It was reported that Ottawa doubled in size from 200,000 people to 400,000 people because of all the Catholics from around the globe who descended upon the nation’s capital to witness Canada consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Every stop along this pilgrim statue tour will feature a consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, roses will be blessed as this practice has historically signified Mary bestowing favours, and all attendees will be encouraged to enrol in the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, “unleashing of a torrent of grace” within a person that leads to conversion, and then an increased desire to attain holiness, said Girard.

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