Our Lady is speaking to the world once again. But are we listening? Father Mark Goring of the Companions of the Cross, a dynamic preacher and director of the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston, is not only listening but taking Our Lady’s promptings to a whole new level.
On the weekend of June 28-29 — June 28 is the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus — the organization will host its second “Marython,” a night of Mass and Eucharistic adoration followed by an all-night Rosary vigil.
This idea of Father Goring includes a half-mile candlelit “Path of Light” that takes participants through the apparition sites of Guadalupe, Lourdes, Kibeho and Fatima. Praying throughout the night in their native languages, pilgrims will stop at each seven-foot torchlit image to reflect on the messages of Our Lady from these Church-approved apparitions.
Already convinced of the power of all-night vigils before the Blessed Sacrament, Father Goring envisioned combining a physical challenge with the recitation of all 20 decades of the Rosary, to which he has a great devotion.
The timing of the first Marython, which took six months of planning and was held Oct. 5, 2018, was providential, as it came after the resurgence of the clergy sex abuse scandal last summer. Turning to the Blessed Mother, the event offered a concrete way to restore peace amid the devastating storm that shook the Church and the faith of its members.
With a quickly growing YouTube following, Father Goring began offering his daily messages as a “healing balm to a suffering Church.” At the same time, the outspoken priest exhorted the faithful to refuse to compromise in defending the Church amid the scandals. The Marython offered a tangible means for pilgrims to pray and make reparations for the harm caused by clergy.
Walk with Mary
The theme for the event — “In the footsteps of Jesus through the hand of Mary” — is not unfamiliar to some of the local faithful — namely, the Houston Missionaries of Charity.
When asked why she continually carried a rosary in her hand, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta explained she was ”holding the hand of Our Lady.” Following in their founder’s footsteps, four Missionaries of Charity felt called to participate in the Marython last October. The Sisters rotated shifts throughout the busy night hours at their Houston home for bedridden men in order to participate in the event.
“This is what we are being asked to do each day — walk with Mary, holding onto her hand,” said Sister Mary, the mother superior of the Houston Missionaries of Charity. “If we try to walk the road alone, we are often led astray. With Mary, we will reach our destination, which is always Jesus,” she said.
Father Goring has walked both paths. Calling himself an atheist in high school, he credits much of his conversion to Our Lady, whom he says led him back to Jesus. “I consider to have taken her into my home” (cf. Jn 19:27), says Father Goring, whose priestly Order of the Companions of the Cross embraces four pillars: Eucharistic, charismatic, Marian and magisterial.
This year’s Marython follows a similar schedule to the first event, with Mass starting at 10:30 p.m. followed by Eucharistic adoration and procession, and closing with a 3 a.m. Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Still, the walking Rosary and reflections at the Marian apparition stations will be the central prayer of the event.
As plans become finalized for the upcoming Marython, Father Goring is quick to point out that, as with the first event, “God will have the final say. Those are always the most exciting gatherings — when you see the hand of God arranging and leading things in ways you didn’t expect.”
Jan Petroni Brown writes from Texas.