New online prayer group starts
Friday, Sep. 11, 2020
Those who are homebound, either temporarily during the pandemic or due to health challenges, may feel isolated from the very things that give them spiritual strength: the Mass, Adoration and other events the mobile faithful can participate in. A new Militia of the Immaculata prayer group, the Knights at the Foot of the Cross Village, aims to reach out to them and engage them in active prayer using a videoconferencing application.
The meaning and value of redemptive suffering is a particular focus of the group. This concept “originated with St. Maximilian Kolbe and his understanding and his belief in the reality of redemptive suffering, when people offer their sufferings united with the cross of Christ to prayer for specific people or causes,” said Donna Masek, the group’s moderator.
The Knights at the Foot of The Cross is an outreach within the MI movement, founded in 1983 by six sick Conventual Franciscan friars who wanted to make use of their ailments. Members of the groups consecrate themselves and their sufferings to Mary.
The Utah group, which is the second Knights at the Foot of the Cross Village in the nation, was formed May 1 and meets online each Friday evening from 8 to 9 p.m. to pray. Members follow a set format: They pray the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary, discuss a reading from a source on redemptive suffering and then pray the Miraculous Medal Prayer of St. Maximilian Kolbe.
Through the group, participants are invited to “see their crosses as a gift, united with the cross of Christ, that can bless themselves and other people, too,” Masek said. “Offering our sufferings as a prayer for others is a very powerful and spiritual thing to do. The knights pray not only for the conversion and sanctification of others, but also for those within the MI movement that are doing the active apostolates.”
Masek and Colleen Pike were the village’s original participants, but three others have joined them. Several guests have visited the group online, including John Galten, president of the MI National Council.
Pike describes herself as a “healthy 76-year-old” who attends Mass, but she has withdrawn from most other activities because of the pandemic, she said.
“I’m very blessed to be in good health and I’d like to keep it that way, so since the COVID thing I’ve been pretty much self-isolating,” she said.
Pike also said as she slows down with age, she has had to make some changes in her life. She appreciates the KFC group because she doesn’t have to drive at night to attend, she said.
“It’s so important to keep active, to be with religious people, and I needed to find another way,” she said. “As I’m getting further into the winter years of life, you start being more aware and closer to those that are on the other side. I’ve got this desire for prayer and I need to understand it and the power of prayer better.”
The focus of the group on redemptive suffering resonates with her.
“Suffering for me is not physical right now, but it’s more the emotional and the things that come with aging,” she said.
Participating with the group has kept her in contact with people “who are very much in love with the Church and with God and with the Maximilian Kolbe way,” she said. “I’m hoping that it would grow and that people that are at home that are isolated, they could come and be a part of this prayer group and have spiritual enrichment with other people who care and are interested in the same way.”
Another participant, Lucy Bordley, is recently retired and is raising her 11-year-old granddaughter, who sometimes participates with the group.
“I feel and I see it in her that she gets a lot out of participating in these things,” Bordley said.
Bordley said she plans to continue with the Knights of the Foot of the Cross Village even after the pandemic is gone or a vaccine is found.
“I really enjoy praying the rosary and praying the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of Mary; it has been really beneficial for me,” she said. “I get a lot out of praying the rosary, so I really like that we do it as a group.”
Masek invites people from all across the diocese to visit the group as their schedules allow.
“I continue to reach out to new individuals to see if they might be interested in praying with us on Friday nights,” she said. “This has blossomed into new spiritual friendships as we pray together and learn more about the power of redemptive suffering.”
Masek may be reached at email@example.com. For information on Knights at the Foot of the Cross, visit missionimmaculata.com.