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 | Brittany DeHaan

Marian Congress: A Gift for Families and the Faithful

Nearly 300 people gathered on May 11, 2024, for the sixth annual Marian Congress at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle.

This year’s theme was Mary, Joseph, and the Eucharist: Forming a Holy Family and speakers shared insights on the lives of the Holy Family and how to follow their examples.

Presenters offered talks in English and Spanish titled “The Mass and the Joyful Mysteries,” “Marian Consecration,” and “Mary, Joseph, and the Eucharist: Forming a Holy Family.”

“Through the Holy Eucharist, we can partake in Mary’s maternal experience of carrying God within us, bringing Him into the world,” explained Father Carlos Rojas, pastor of St. Rita Parish in Dade City, in his talk on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

The speakers emphasized accepting God’s will, highlighting how Mary and Jesus were obedient to God’s will despite difficulties.

“It was her obedience to the Lord and her acceptance of it that led to salvation. And so it is for each and every one of us, in our call to be holy families, that continual obedience to God, and to the love that is required in that,” said Father Xavy Castro. Father Castro and his parents, Lucy and Deacon Élix, gave one of the talks at the event.

“Mary only loved the will of God. She loved being a daughter of the Father, but she also loved being the Mother of the Son,” added Lucy Castro.

The Marian Congress also included adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with worship music by The Vigil Project, a multilingual rosary, and the celebration of Mass with Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The multilingual rosary consisted of groups leading decades in five different languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Igbo, and English. It was a great way to unite many nationalities through the Catholic faith.

Father Carlos Rojas presided over the closing Mass and spoke to the congregation about consecration to Mary.

“Let's follow the example of Mary. Stay close to Jesus Christ and in that intimate union that we renew in the Holy Eucharist, be an extension of merciful love towards others, and intercede in your prayers for those who are in need,” Father Rojas said.

He then led the congregation in praying an Act of Consecration prayer. This also renewed the Diocese of St. Petersburg’s consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which first took place in 2018.

This year, the Marian Congress took place on the Saturday before Mother’s Day which meant that the event added an extra motherly celebration to the weekend.

“The Marian Congress was my Mother’s Day present to myself and my Mother’s Day present to Mary,” shared Jessica Henry, a parishioner at St. Mark the Evangelist in Tampa who attended the Marian Congress.

Henry said that she has made her consecration in the past and that her relationship with Mary is priceless and unexplainably beautiful.

“I feel she has led me to this event. It shows her presence if you allow her to be in your life. She’s there for us and I will continue to follow her lead,” she continued.

Speakers consisted of Father Carlos Rojas, and Father Xavy, Lucy, and Deacon Élix Castro. Music throughout the event was provided by The Vigil Project. Marian groups included Elisheba House, International Consecrated Marian Society, Bonds of Marian Love, Legion of Mary, Magnificat of St. Petersburg, Tampa Magnificat, Mantle of Mary, Marian Servants of Divine Providence, and Schoenstatt Tampa Bay.


To view more photos from the event, click the arrows on the photo below.


Sixth Annual Marian Congress 2024

The Marian Congress is made possible through gifts to the Catholic Ministry Appeal