PARISH MISSIONS, TRIDUUMS, RETREAT DAYS,
MARIAN EVENINGS and EUCHARISTIC HEALING EVENINGS, etc.
offered to Parishes by Fr Al Winshman, SJ
Open Letter to Priests, Parish Councils and Spiritual Activities Coordinators
Praise be Jesus and Mary!
Marian Renewal Ministry goes back to the fall of 1984 while I was on staff at a Jesuit retreat house. It was then that I first heard of Medjugorje. With Our Lady’s call to prayer of the heart and a return to fasting leading to a witnessing faith, true conversion and sacramental life I accepted the authenticity of the messages. The more I read and reflected on the events at Medjugorje the more convinced I became, especially due to the now millions of conversions back to living a fuller sacramental life in the Church. Being spiritual director of over 45 pilgrimages to Medjugorje has further convinced me that God is fulfilling Fatima in gracing the world through Mary at this time. Pope John Paul II has spoken often of his personal belief and full support of Medjugorje to Cardinals and Bishops consulting him regarding Medjugorje, advising them to go and see for themselves. Many return to their dioceses to openly promote Mary’s message at Medjugorje.
This ministry began in the spring of 1985 as an outreach of my retreat ministry at Loyola Retreat House in Faulkner MD. Its fruits and expansion have continually confirmed it. Due to increasing invitations from parishes I have been formally assigned full time to this ministry each year since 1988 by my Jesuit Provincial superior in Boston. It continues to grow thanks to the collaboration of many in promoting its outreach to parishes throughout the U.S. and internationally. Committed to bringing Mary’s urgent call of conversion and peace, I welcome requests to share her urgent and vital messages with parishes, prayer groups, Marian and Eucharistic conferences, etc.
Parish Missions and Triduums are a growing part of Marian Renewal Ministry, which began with Marian Evenings and Eucharistic Healing Evenings of Prayer. The Marian Evenings usually open with a meditated Rosary, followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with a teaching on some aspect of Mary’s call to conversion in our times. These teaching have included Mary in the Scriptures, Church teaching and her message today — especially prayer, penance, conversion and Sacraments — at Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima and now Medjugorje. The Eucharistic Healing Evenings begin with the Divine Mercy Chaplet, followed by a teaching on the Real Presence and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the true redeeming sacrifice of Christ on the cross made present to us today. A way of personally praying the Mass with one’s heart and life is presented by using a theme from one’s life and offering it with the bread and wine, a hurt to be healed or a gift to be consecrated by the Lord. Our Lady reminds us that the Holy Mass is the most perfect prayer, and it is our greatest healing prayer. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is then prayed personally with a life theme for healing or consecration. The evening concludes with individual blessings or for larger congregations with blessings throughout the congregation with the Eucharistic Lord in the monstrance.
Many parishes have requested two or three evenings of prayer concluding with the Eucharistic Healing Evening. This allows a fuller treatment of the message. From this developed Parish Missions, Triduums, Weekend Retreats and Days of Prayer. I have also been invited to speak on Mary’s call to peace at many Marian and Eucharistic Conferences. Central to all of these ministries is Pope John Paul’s call to evangelization on faith, prayer, penance, conversion, Confession and Eucharist. This ministry has now included 42 of the U.S. states and nine other English-speaking countries from the Pacific ring to the British Isles.
The Parish Mission, “Called to Discipleship with Jesus through Mary,” is my basic Parish Mission and is based on the Gospels, Church teaching, and the Gospel-centered themes of Our Lady’s call to conversion and peace in her messages at Fatima and Medjugorje. The themes of evangelization covered include:  peace through a living witness of our faith,  faith founded on prayer and Scripture,  penance and fasting,  conversion from sin through confession, reconciliation, and living the commandments, and  praying and living the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There is an evening dedicated to Sacramental Confession and the final evening concludes with a Healing Mass. Each session includes Holy Mass (or on Sundays, Adoration and Benediction) and a time is provided before each session to pray the Rosary with an opportunity for sacramental confession. I offer to preach at all the weekend Masses to introduce the mission and encourage the parishioners and others to come with their family and friends. Parish Missions are generally four days, but can be adapted to five days or a Triduum of three days, usually beginning on Sunday evening while people are free on the weekend.
Marian Renewal is a self-supporting ministry. There is no stipend required for one or two Evenings of Prayer when I am already in the given area on other ministry. These evenings of prayer have been supported by a free will offering at the evening Masses. Parishes requesting Missions, Triduums and Retreats,  cover the traveling expenses (which are shared when two or three parishes have a mission, Triduum or Retreat in the same area), and  offer a parish stipend according to the means of the parish. Some parishes in lieu of a parish stipend for the Sunday preaching and mission have had a mission appeal as a second collection at the weekend Masses. Finances are always mutually negotiable and are never to stand in the way of this ministry. At the concluding Mission Mass the people are given the opportunity to give a free will offering in gratitude and support of this ministry.
My Marian Renewal Ministry flyer and flyers for the Parish Missions, Triduums and evenings of prayer, further describe this ministry. Please feel free request and photocopy any of these materials to share with other priests and contact persons who might welcome this ministry for their parishes or area. E-mail, phone or write me if you are interested in any of the above programs offered to parishes, conferences, etc., or would like further information. I look forward to hearing from you and to serving your people. God’s blessings be upon you and those whom you serve.
Peace in Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Al Winshman, S.J.
Fr Alfred O Winshman, SJ