CAPTION FOR PHOTO: Fr. Galen Bank and Dennis and Angelina Girard hope to encourage parishioners at Ottawa's Blessed Sacrament Parish to make a Marian consecration at Christmas. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

Priest encourages parish to make Marian consecration at Christmas

  • December 15, 2016

OTTAWA – An Ottawa priest is hoping a book made for children can deliver a very serious Christmas message for adults, too.

Fr. Galen Bank, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood, is encouraging parish members to make a consecration to Jesus through Mary this Christmas as a birthday present to the Saviour. A Marian consecration is “different” and not “what people would even think of doing," he said.

“In our time, we need a variety of things to help us deepen our appreciation of Jesus, but also of Our Lady,” he said.

The guide he is urging parishioners to consider is Marian Consecration for 'Little Souls', by children's book written by Dennis and Angelina Girard, who are members of the worship team at his parish.

The book uses a dialogue about Marian apparitions between two cartoon characters: Fr. G, a surfing priest who “surfs for souls,” and BB, a blue butterfly. The book can be used as a nine-day mini-retreat to prepare for the consecration that whole families can do together.

Like Advent calendars and Jesse Trees, the book is aimed at children but when their parents help them they catch the idea, too, Bank said. “It’s a children’s book but it’s for adults. It totally is.”

What Bank loves about the book is the simplicity. As a member of the Companions of the Cross, an order founded in 1985 in Ottawa, Bank did his first Marian consecration as a seminarian using the 33-day preparation of St. Louis de Montfort.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into or what I was doing,” he said. He found the consecration process “very involved, very intense” and he wondered if it had to be so time-consuming. He longed for a simpler approach and had even made prayer cards with a simple consecration prayer.

Bank said he loves how the book uses Marian apparitions — at Guadalupe, at Lourdes and at Fatima — to “help us fall in love with Jesus” and “appreciate Our Lady as our spiritual mother.”

“What’s the gift we’re giving to the Lord at Christmas?” he asked.

If people are able to pray the simple prayer of consecration at Christmas with true intensity and desire, “how much good can come out of the open door we give Jesus and Mary to form us,” he said. “Jesus and Mary are working together to bring about the reign of God in this troubled world.”

Dennis Girard said that the 'G' in Fr. G stands for God, but, unbeknownst to him, Bank had been dubbed Father G or Papa G at his previous parish.

“The book is actually not me,” Bank said. “I don’t think Dennis even knew that was a nickname for me.” But he jokes that if Father G had glasses, “there you go.”

Bank said he loves the way the stories of the apparitions focus on certain aspects of our walk with God. In the book, the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s appearance to St. Juan Diego is a message to trust in God’s plan for our lives. “St. Juan Diego had to learn that,” Bank said.

Our Lady of Lourdes brought a message of healing to a broken world, of God’s mercy, and how much He wants to heal people, he said.

Our Lady of Fatima brings a message of repentance and conversion and “really praying the Rosary,” he said.

“Each apparition has its own way of bringing us to the point where we can make a consecration to Jesus this way and free ourselves up to do it wholeheartedly,” Bank said.

Although many people can answer questions about Mary from a doctrinal standpoint — that she gave birth to Christ, that she is the Mother of God, and so on — “we’ve lost something in not seeing Mary as our spiritual Mother," Bank said.

The Girards say they plan to give away about 500 copies of their book during Christmas services, when the number of people attending Mass swells over the holidays. The Girards gave away hundreds of copies of the Divine Mercy Rosary DVD they produced a couple of years ago, and say they expect to find sponsors to help with the cost.

Information about the book Marian Consecration for Little Souls can be found at

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