The most important thing we can do collectively as the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Apostolate or as individual devotees is to spread the Flame of Love to everyone – inside the Church and outside the Church. However, prayer cenacles are also an important part of what we do. With our September theme of Cenacles of Reparation, this is a good time to provide some guidance on our cenacles to ensure we are holding to what the Diary says and implementing the guidance we have received from the Vatican.
What Size and What Type of Cenacles?
Our on-line cenacles have been an extraordinary blessing and our Blessed Mother has used them to spread the Flame of Love of her Immaculate Heart around the world but we must be careful to not overdo a good thing. We have seen a tendency to focus on large, centralized cenacles. These are fine on occasion but should not be our primary way of participating in a cenacle. Except in countries where it is culturally appropriate, we do not encourage the creation of large, centralized cenacles but rather smaller, dispersed cenacles so that everyone has an opportunity to participate and which provide opportunities to build leadership throughout the country.
Working within the Church
Another reason we do not promote large, centralized cenacles is so that we can integrate with the authority and hierarchy of the Church. It is important to establish local cenacles within parishes where the door is open. This should be done carefully, prayerfully, and in order but, when done, requires the approval of the Pastor. This is the first step of integration with the hierarchy of the Church. As the Flame of Love bears fruit in a parish both among those who attend the cenacles and those who do not but have received the Flame of Love, the Pastor becomes our advocate with other Pastors and ultimately the Bishop. The approval of the Bishop at the behest of the Pastor is the next and critical step of integration with the hierarchy of the Church and a required step in ultimately going beyond our current status established by Cardinal Erdő to being established as an International Association of the Faithful by the Vatican. This process cannot normally begin unless we engage the Pastor. The virtual cenacles have been a great blessing, have helped spread the Flame of Love everywhere, and carried us through COVID but we must not forget to start integrating once more with our Parishes and Pastors. Parish cenacles are the doorway. You’ll be hearing much more about this in the coming months.
What the Diary Says
Finally, we do not want to promote large, centralized cenacles because we want to conform to what our Lord and Lady ask in the Diary. The most important cenacles for us to form are FAMILY cenacles. Our Blessed Mother asked for these the very day she gave the Flame of Love:
April 13, 1962:
Mary: “On Thursday and Friday, I ask you, my daughter, to offer a very special reparation to my Divine Son. This will be an hour for the family to make reparation. Begin this hour with a spiritual reading, followed by the Rosary or other prayers in an atmosphere of recollection and fervor.”
Nineteen years later, in 1981, Jesus asked for prayer groups to be established in parishes.
January 1, 1981:
Jesus: “Every parish must urgently organize communities of prayers of atonement”
Of course, on-line cenacles were not generally possible then but parish prayer groups are important for the reasons outlined above.
So our first priority should be our Family Cenacles where possible. Then, where the door is open, we should organize parish cenacles. And it is important for us to occasionally gather in large cenacles. For example, I heartily recommend that everyone join the monthly US National Cenacle when we gather together across the country to pray for our nation. Stay tuned for an announcement of the new launch of the National Cenacle featuring many leaders from around the country. And everyone is always invited to the International Cenacle every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month where the Movement all around the world gathers in prayer.
Finally, there is no need to abandon our virtual cenacles. These have been a great blessing and are a way for the many, many people who do not have access to a physical cenacle to be able to gather in communal prayer. However, we do not want to neglect fulfilling Mary’s request for Family Holy Hours and Jesus’ request for parish based prayer groups.
Let’s begin to re-emphasize Family and Parish prayer cenacles.
May our prayer and sacrifices in all forms blind Satan, set captives free, and advance the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother. Peace and great Joy!
Assistant International Coordinator
The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Movement