WILMINGTON, Calif. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The state of California has been reconsecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In the second annual "Consecrate California" event, Catholics around the state gathered at churches on Saturday, Dec. 8 — the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception — for Mass, Marian processions and Rosary, as well as a prayer of consecration entrusting California to Our Lady.
Consecrate California organizer Angelo Libutti said there were about 1,000 people at Ss. Peter and Paul in Wilmington, adding, "There were many people of different ages. The crowd was so diverse in that way. Little children, many teens and young adults along [with] middle-aged people and the elderly."
Another person taking part in Consecrate California, Pauline Gallagher, shared videos with Church Militant from the day's events, including High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at noon.
"The most surprising aspect of the event was just how many people showed up," Gallagher told Church Militant. "The church was packed and it was not a small church. There were people lined double along the sides and back and in the vestibule and outside. I think they are going to need an even bigger church next year!"
"The Mass was absolutely gorgeous," she added. "The procession with the statue of Our Lady was invigorating to the faith of all."
She said she was impressed when the statue-bearers knelt down in unison while still carrying the statue of Our Lady on their shoulders.
The day's events at Ss. Peter and Paul included presentations in both English and Spanish by various Catholic speakers, including Jesse Romero, the Catholic apologist who spoke at the Silence Stops Now rally in Baltimore last month.
The website for the event lists the reasons for the consecration of California: "To defeat the culture of death. Abortion, euthanasia, natural disasters. For the sick, elderly, unwanted. And for an end to the violence, sex abuse, drugs, alcoholism, sex trafficking."
Libutti told Church Militant earlier that the idea for the consecration crossed his mind last year during a late-night Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He was originally only interested in passing the idea along to someone else to organize, but ended up organizing the event himself.
He had a little over a month to put it together; despite the time crunch, Libutti said that "God opened up, in such a short time, the possibility of pulling in 12 churches in California to participate last year with over 2,250 participants."