The Book - The MMP “Manual”
The instrument that has spread the Marian Movement of Priests in every part of the world is the book,
"To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons."
This book contains the meditations or inspirations that Don Stefano Gobbi received in the form of inner words dictated to the heart. The Book has been spontaneously translated in all the major languages and has spread the Marian Movement of Priests to all the continents.
The Book has been very useful to spread and to understand better the spirituality of the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
By means of this instrument, there are now joined to the Marian Movement of Priests some Cardinals, more than 350 Archbishops and Bishops, 150,000 priests of the secular clergy and of many religious orders and institutes. As to the laity, they number several million.
The Book is not for sale in bookstores; it can be obtained by requesting it from the Regional Directors of the Marian Movement of Priests.
The Marian Movement
Don Stefano Gobbi, an Italian priest from Dongo, upper Lake Como, Italy,
and a member of the Company of St. Paul,
based in Milan at an Institute of Spirituality.
Dongo, north of Como, on Lake Como
St. Stefano, Dongo Parish Church
On the 8th of May, 1972, Don Stefano Gobbi was taking part in a pilgrimage to Fatima and was praying in the little Chapel of the Apparitions for some priests who, besides having personally given up their own vocations, were attempting to form themselves into associations in rebellion against the Church’s authority.
An interior force urged him to have confidence in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Chapel of Apparitions
Our Lady, making use of him as a poor and humble instrument, would gather all those priests who would accept her invitation to consecrate themselves to her Immaculate Heart, to be strongly united to the Pope and to the Church united with him, and to bring the faithful into the secure refuge of her motherly Heart.
Thus, a powerful cohort would be formed, spread throughout every part of the world,
and gathered together, not with human means of propaganda, but with the supernatural power which springs from silence, from prayer, from suffering and from constant faithfulness to one’s duties.
Don Stefano asked Our Lady interiorly for a little “sign of confirmation.”
She gave it to him promptly, before the end of that same month, at the Shrine of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
The origin of the Marian Movement of Priests stems from this simple and interior inspiration
which Don Stefano received in prayer at Fatima. Concretely, what was he to do?
In October of the same year, a timid attempt was made, by way of a gathering of 3 Priests, for prayer and fraternal sharing, in the Parish of Gera Lario (Como, Italy); a notice of the Movement was given in some papers and Catholic reviews.
St Agatha, Gera Lario
By March 1973, the number of priests inscribed was about 40. In September of the same year, at San Vittorino, near Rome, the first national gathering took place, with 25 priests taking part, out of the 80 already enrolled.
Beginning in 1974, the first Cenacles of Prayer and fraternal sharing among priests and faithful took place.
These gradually spread throughout Europe and to every part of the world.
By the end of 1985, Don Stefano Gobbi had already many times visited the 5 continents
to preside at the Regional Cenacles, involving a good 350 air flights and journeys by car and train.
He has conducted 890 cenacles, of which 482 took place in Europe, 180 in America,
97 in Africa, 51 in Asia and 80 in Oceania.
This gives evidence of how the Movement has, throughout these years, spread everywhere in an astounding way.
2007 MMP National Directors Meeting
Commitment to Conversion
In the Act of Consecration for the laity, it is further affirmed: "We pledge to bring about in ourselves that interior conversion so urgently demanded by the Gospel." Our Lady asks of the faithful also, who belong to the Movement, a daily commitment to conversion along the road of prayer and penance.
For this, as an attentive and concerned mother, she helps them flee from sin, to live in the grace of God, invites them to frequent confession, to an intense Eucharistic life, to always observe the Law of God, with a particular commitment to live the virtue of purity especially on the part of young people and those who are engaged to marry, and conjugal chastity within the sacrament of Matrimony, according to the doctrine of Christ, recently reaffirmed by the Magisterium of the Church.
And this becomes so necessary in our day in order to counteract a shameless impurity which has spread everywhere and in order to help make the world cleaner and more beautiful.
Let the faithful be a good example "...by an austere manner of life, by repudiating styles which are ever increasingly provocative and indecent, by opposing in every way possible the spread of immoral literature and entertainment and this continual flooding from a sea of filth that is submerging everything.
Let them be an example to all by their purity, their sobriety and their modesty.
Let them flee all those places where the sacred character of their person is defiled.
Let them form about the priests my faithful cohort, my great ‘White Army.’ " (November 1, 1973)
There are now tens of millions of lay people from every part of the world
who have joined the Marian Movement, and often it is from them
that the priests receive good example, concrete assistance
and precious encouragement.
Regional, Diocesan and Family Cenacles
Regional and Diocesan Cenacles always develop in union with the bishop of the place who either takes part personally or, at times, gives his assent and blessing.
These cenacles offer an enviable opportunity of experiencing, in a concrete way, prayer offered together and genuine fraternity, and are a great help to all in overcoming doubts and difficulties in order to continue with courage along the arduous road of consecration.
From among those priests who have taken on the task of bringing their confreres together, Directors of the Movement have been selected at the national, regional, and diocesan level. From the directors of each country, very comforting accounts have been received. In these we find assurance that the cenacles have continued to develop increasingly.
Fr. Albert Roux, USA national director, St. Francis, ME
Family Cenacles are today particularly providential, in view of the serious break-up of family life.
In these, one or more families of the Movement gather together in the same house.
The Rosary is recited - after an Invocation to the Holy Spirit.
Prayers for the Pope are recited.
There is a Meditation on the life of consecration - after a Reading from the MMP Manual.
There is always, made as a group, the Renewal of the Act of Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Also there is Fraternal Sharing - during which mutual problems and difficulties are discussed.
It has already become evident that Christian families have been helped by these family cenacles to live today as true communities of faith, prayer and love.
The Structure of the Cenacles
The structure of the cenacles is quite simple.
In imitation of the disciples who were gathered together with Mary in the Cenacle of Jerusalem,
we come together:
To Pray with Mary
The Cenacles must, above all, be gatherings of Prayer.
But this Prayer must be made together with Mary.
It is for this reason that one of the characteristics that is common to all the Cenacles is the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Through it we invite Our Lady to join us in our prayer; we pray together with her, while she herself unveils to our souls the mystery of the life of Jesus.
"Your entire Rosary, which you recite in the Cenacle in accordance with the urgent request of your Mother, is like an immense chain of love and salvation with which you are able to encircle persons and situations, and even to influence all the events of your time. Continue to recite it, and multiply your cenacles of prayer..." (October 7, 1979)
To Live the Consecration
Basilica of Loreto
During the Cenacles, we should help each other to live the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
This is the way we should do it:
by accustoming ourselves to Our Lady’s way of seeing, feeling, loving, praying and working.
Accustom yourselves to be in Her direct presence.
The pause for Meditation which is made during the Cenacles must serve this purpose.
There are other times and places for reflections concerning aggiornamento which are likewise indispensable for all.
Usually this space of time is given over to a Communal Meditation from the Manual of the Movement.
It is not, therefore, within the spirit of the Cenacle to spend this time listening to learned conferences or cultural updatings.
Otherwise we would run the risk of getting away from that atmosphere of simplicity and of familiarity, which makes our gatherings so fruitful.
To Create Fraternity
Lastly, in the Cenacles we are all called to take part in the experience of a true fraternity. Is this not perhaps one of the most beautiful experiences, which always occurs in every Cenacle? The more we pray and allow time for the action of Our Lady, the more we experience as well an increase of mutual love among ourselves.
"Why do I want them to come together in Cenacles with me?..
To love each other - and to live in true brotherhood - in the company of their Mother.
It is necessary today that my priests know each other, that they help each other,
that they truly love one another, that they be as brothers brought together by their Mother.
There is today too much loneliness, too much abandonment for my priests!
I do not want them to be alone: they must help each other, love each other, t
hey must feel as—and really be—brothers." (January 17, 1974)
To the danger of loneliness, today particularly felt and dangerous for priests,
here is the remedy offered by Our Lady: the Cenacle, where we gather together
with Her to get to know, love and help each other - as brothers.
Our Lady’s Mantle
Notice the proximity between Como, Milan and Montichiari, a site of contemporary apparitions of Rosa Mystica - also asking for “Prayers for Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, the Priests,” but is not yet approved. It is OLM’s opinion that Fr. Stephano Gobbi was selected to fulfill this wish of BVM by starting the MMP in 1972.
Brothers, both in Life and in Death...