June 22 marks the 70th anniversary of the consecration of the Dominion of Canada to Mary, Mother of God, an event that drew several hundred thousand pilgrims to Ottawa in 1947 and involved all levels of government as well as cardinals and bishops from around the world.
The consecration marked the climax of a four-day Marian Congress, which was highlighted by a radio address from Pope Pius XII in French and English.
Dennis Girard, who with his wife Angelina wrote Marian Consecration for ‘Little Souls’ in 2016, wants to help ensure the Congress anniversary is honoured.
“This struck me as a big deal; this whole idea that the Dominion of Canada had been consecrated to Mary,” Girard said. “I found it remarkable and something I needed to verify. It was almost unbelievable that most people didn’t know about it.”
Girard’s interest in the Congress heightened when he discovered an online film of the event by Quebec film pioneer Fr. Maurice Proulx. He obtained the rights to post the film of the Congress, narrated in French, on the website CatholicinCanada.com.
When his friend Robert Du Broy saw the film he translated it into English. Du Broy also made a French version of Girard’s trailer and translated other materials for suggested parish celebrations in French.
Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast made reference to the 70th anniversary in his Christmas message, noting that the 1947 Congress also marked the centennial year for the Archdiocese of Ottawa.
As well as the Proulx film, the Girards have discovered other connections to Canada’s spiritual history related to the Congress that have left them in awe, he said.
The couple already had a devotion to Our Lady of the Cape at the National Shrine to the Blessed Mother at Cap-de-Madeleine in Trois-Rivières, Que., and had dedicated their Marian consecration book to her.
They then discovered a replica of the Our Lady of the Cape statue had travelled in procession from the shrine through Quebec and Ontario, visiting 340 different parishes before arriving in Ottawa for the 1947 Congress.
This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions in 2017, which Girard has noted in his venture.
“I related it to our Lady of Fatima’s message of the importance of consecrating Russia to avoid the errors of Communism spreading,” he said. “It demonstrates the consecration of a country to Our Lady has very significant spiritual relevance and consequences.”
The Girards hope to use the Our Lady of the Cape statue at events to mark the Marian Congress anniversary in Ottawa, June 17-23.