Watch Evening News weeknights at 6:30 p.m. ET.
LOS ANGELES (ChurchMilitant.com) - A century after the Our Lady's apparitions at Fatima, committed Catholics are banding together to consecrate California to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Targeting the Culture of Death, the initiative, called Consecrate California, will intercede "for the unborn, sick, elderly, unwanted and for an end to the violence, sex abuse, drugs, alcoholism and sex trafficking." Organizers are asking participants to come together from noon–2 p.m. PST on December 9 "in public, around churches close to you or near the California coastline" to "pray for the conversion of California and in reparation for sins in our state."
On Thursday, Church Militant spoke with the pioneer of Consecration California, director, writer and storyboard artist Angelo Libutti.
Libutti told the apostolate the inspiration for California's consecration came to him during a 2–4 a.m. eucharistic adoration session. While in prayer, he was struck by a profound awareness of California's spiritual barrenness.
"Of all the states," he said, "California is certainly the most distant from God, the least faithful to His Commandments."
There is a deep hunger for God among many people, Libutti observed: "You can tell there is a need for something higher, a hunger for transcendence because of all the attempts to find it in so many denominations or false, feelings-based religions or in other things."
"One day, they're atheist, then five months pass by and they call themselves Buddhist, and six months later, they've moved on to something else. But they're all seeking 'Something,'" he went on.
The film industry veteran noted that in the midst of their search, many seem blind to the Truth. This, he said, is what sparked his inspiration.
"With Our Lady's help," he declared, "we can overcome this obstacle, as Jesus gave her to us at Calvary."
Through grassroots support, the movement has begun gaining rapid momentum in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco.
He shared the example of Gary Markowski, a member of the Arrowhead-Desert Vally Chapter of the Knights of Columbus, who is actively promoting the consecration across his diocese.
Speaking with Church Militant Thursday, Markowski shared that he's received a "very enthusiastic" response from priests in his area and hopes to enlist the support of his local ordinary, Bp. Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino.
Additionally, "Our Knights of Columbus Chapter of 58 Councils will be participating," he said, and they are working to get the state office on board.
The consecration is attracting support from high-profile Catholics with connections to California.
Confirmed participants include actor Eduardo Varastegui; pro-life activist and Live Action founder Lila Rose; Emotional Virtue founder Sarah Swafford; evangelists Jesse Romero, Tim Staples and Patrick Coffin; musician Paul J. Kim, exorcist Fr. Chad Ripperger and groups like the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property and Catholic Answers.
According to the program, "On Consecration Day, we urge everyone to attend Mass, pray the Rosary and the Prayer of Consecration for California."
The prayer of consecration commits the United States as a whole, and California in particular, to the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary and begs mercy from God: "Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America, and particularly, the State of California, into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country and our State to You," it begins.
It continues in part:
Through her, we wish to thank You for the great resources of this land and for the freedom which has been its heritage. Through the intercession of Mary have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our president and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity. Have mercy on the capital and on industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the innocence of our children. Grant the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our Mother, have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners — on all who are in need.
California's reputation for sin is widely known. But there are lights in the darkness.
Prelates like Bp. Robert Vasa in Santa Rosa and Abp. Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco are placing their dioceses under the care of the Virgin Mary. The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is now active in the dioceses of Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego.
San Diego is home to apologetics ministry Catholic Answers and one of the few U.S. Catholic universities faithful to the Magisterium, John Paul the Great University.
To the north in Santa Paula is another: Thomas Aquinas College, which schools its students in orthodoxy through a robust great books program.
Publisher Ignatius Press in San Francisco educates Catholics around the world, producing volumes of works each year.
Orange County is home base for pro-life advocacy, David Daleiden's Center for Medical Progress.
Church Militant Resistance maintains chapters in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, San Diego, Fresno, Monterrey, Stockton, Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Santa Rosa.
Though he is under no illusions about California's spiritual condition, Libutti hopes the consecration will help spark renewal, describing the consecration as "a first baby step for this state to return to its Catholic roots."
"If we get a large number of people praying the Rosary and have California consecrated, this alone will be a great achievement, a great start."
"Hopefully more people will learn about the power of the Rosary and grow as Catholics with this event," he said, adding that "we need to have more teenagers and adult men participating to break the stereotype that praying the Rosary is something for old ladies."
Ultimately, Libutti reflected, "We just have to make it clear that this is all about the spiritual well-being of our state. We must fight for the souls of our families and ask the Lord for His mercy."