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 | Max Steele

Fifth Annual Marian Congress Unveils Testimonies to Our Blessed Mother

May 22, 2023 | On the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13th, hundreds of people attended the fifth annual Marian Congress at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle.

The event consisted of insightful speakers, Marian group presentations, Eucharistic Adoration, confession, multicultural Rosary and the Mass of Renewal of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary celebrated by Bishop Gregory Parkes.

Speakers and participants alike shared powerful testimonies about our Blessed Mother working in their lives.

“She really impacted my life when I was going through a big sickness with my son,” said Yeimy Quintana of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Tampa. “I tried to fix things by myself. Once I understood that the Blessed Mother was with me, everything went smoothly. My son got his surgery and he is healthy now.”

Martina VerPault of Resurrection Parish in Riverview is grateful for Mary’s guidance throughout her life.

“I’ve always felt her veil around me,” VerPault said. “She has helped me through so many things. I had a very rocky childhood and teenage years, and she always pulled me back to the Church. I sometimes went kicking and screaming, but I always ended up exactly where I was supposed to be.”

The Blessed Mother has been a source of comfort to Dr. Armando Chavarria, who serves as Executive Director of Missionary Discipleship for the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

“Our Lady is one of the closest personal relationships I have,” Dr. Chavarría said. “She’s the one that has softened my heart the most. Her love is so big and is a reflection of God’s love for us.”

Paulette Bakke of Holy Cross Parish in St. Petersburg is certain that Mary helped her find her husband.

“I believe the Blessed Mother brought me and my husband together,” Bakke said. “He lived on St. Mary’s Drive in Midland, Michigan, and I grew up on St. Mary’s Street in Detroit. It’s really cool how she works.”

Bakke also recalled a time when her parents were in a car crash that flipped three times and totaled their vehicle, but the passengers were left uninjured. They had just finished praying the Rosary moments before.

“She brings grace, healing, encouragement and nourishment to me, all coming from Jesus, Our Lord, through her motherly hands,” said Carol Marquardt of St. Cecelia Parish in Clearwater. “I love her very much.”

Bishop Gregory Parkes concluded the Marian Congress by renewing the Diocese of St. Petersburg’s consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which first took place in 2018. The Church also dedicates the month of May to Mary in honor of her role as the mother of Jesus and of those in Heaven and on Earth.

Speakers included Father Carlos Rojas, Ivonne and Rick Hernández with Elisheba House, and Dr. Armando Chavarría. Marian groups included Elisheba House, International Consecrated Marian Society, Lazos de Amor Mariano, Magnificat of St. Petersburg, Mantle of Mary, Marian Servants of Divine Providence, Schoenstatt Tampa Bay and Tampa Magnificat.

To view photos from the Marian Congress and Mass of Renewal of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, click on the arrow below.

Marian Congress - Mass of Renewal of Consecration 2023