As we look back with gratitude over these past few decades of our existence, we can surely count our many blessings! Our Lady has had her mantle over us and has kept us faithful to her commission to have a Family Prayer Night. We are still here! We have gone from a prayer group that met in a small room at St. Agnes Church weekly, to a real prayer family that meets in the larger church with the Sacrament of Reconciliation available, and Mass and Adoration that follow. Although our numbers have varied over the years, we have consistently had a faithful group who regularly attend. We have established loving relationships. We have had to say good-by recently to some of our dearest longtime-members and priest-friends who have passed onto eternal reward, but who have left their legacy in our hearts.
Over the many years, we have hosted a Marian Movement for Priests Cenacle with Fr. Gobbi and area priests, had scapular enrollments, anniversary celebrations, healing Masses, speakers, special feast celebrations, and have provided small group meetings for Consecration to Merciful Love as developed by Fr. Michael Gaitley. At our most recent May Crowning, we had a larger crowd that included some First Communicants and their families. One young girl was dressed as Our Lady of Guadalupe and her brother as Juan Diego!
Since 1995, years before it was an official Church feast, Family Prayer Night has sponsored a Divine Mercy Celebration. It has become well known and widely attended in the Green Bay area, with The Most Reverend David L. Ricken, Bishop of Green Bay as the celebrant in the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Also, through the generosity of Family Prayer Night and the offerings of people who attend the Divine Mercy Celebration; Divine Mercy materials, information, and notices have been delivered to area parishes for many years and more recently, within the past few years, Family packets of materials on Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Fatima’s Message have been delivered to area parochial schools. It is quite possible that through our efforts, the Divine Mercy Message and Devotion has grown and become better known in the Green Bay diocese.
Other fruits of Family Prayer Night have been evident in the works of members who have been inspired by Our Lady to do her work. Thus, we have had a Perpetual Adoration Chapel at Ss. Peter and Paul these last 15 years or so, The Rosary Confraternity at St. Agnes Church (5 years old) that is the fastest growing in the nation and the largest in the Midwest Region, and most recently, the establishment of Adoration every Wednesday at St. Agnes following the 8:30 am Mass until Benediction at 7:00 pm. It is heartening to see little chairs placed in the front rows of the temporary Adoration Chapel for the school children who come over from Holy Family School to spend time with Our Lord.
Most touching of all are the personal testimonies of people who have been drawn to Family Prayer Night and have experienced interior peace and deeper conversion in their spiritual journeys, and healing in their lives. Within these stories, one can also see how interconnected we all are as the Family of God and how our relationships within our own individual families, as well as our Family of God, are becoming more loving and holy. Thank you, Holy Mother, for your inspiration, guidance, and gentle hand in leading us to closer relationships within our families through a personal relationship with you and your Son Jesus!