Mary’s Mantle: A Prayer Ministry for Brides (& Grooms)
Mary’s Mantle is an exciting new parish ministry conceived in early 2011 by Lorrie Gramer to prayerfully request the intercession of Our Lady and add a very personal connection between couples preparing for Sacramental Marriage and the Parish Community in which their wedding will take place.
Having helped to prepare over 25,000 couples for Sacramental Marriage, Lorrie and her husband Don have a passion about supporting couples who are choosing to be married in the Catholic Church. We tell them:
“After all the preparations, after the wedding itself, the caterer and the florist will disappear once the bills are all paid…unless you’re planning for another big party, BUT THE CHURCH, IT WON’T DISAPPEAR! It’ll be here for you!”
But too often, we wonder if that’s going to be as true as we wish it would be. As true as we know it needs to be and should be. These couples are our sons and daughters, our grandsons and granddaughters. They belong to us, to our friends and to our fellow parishioners. Let’s care for them as our own.
Mary’s Mantle is one way in which these engaged and newly married couples will know their Faith Community holds them with care and in prayer. And, it’s a way to support our Parish Priests who too often carry all the responsibility for the engaged couples in our Parish.
So what is Mary’s Mantle?
Mary’s Mantle is a ministry of prayer and action that lets parishioners be more intentional in the preparation time and early marriage of the engaged couples being married in their Parish. It:
- Urges the women of the Parish to “Espouse with Prayer, acts of Kindness and Spiritual Encouragement” each Bride as she prepares for her wedding in their Parish Church and Community. As a symbol of the covering worn by our Blessed Lady, each of these prayer ministers will be given a blue piece of fabric, or mantle, that they use to keep the Bride ever present in their thoughts and at each prayer activity said for the Bride. The Mantle will be presented to the Bride in the days leading up to her wedding, along with the “Spiritual Bouquet” listing the Masses, Rosaries, time before the Blessed Sacrament, etc. said for her. The Bride is encouraged to place the “Mantle” at the feet of the Blessed Mother statue either before or during the Wedding with her special Mary’s bouquet. She will also be encouraged to keep the cloth in a special place in her home where she will be reminded to pray that she becomes the wife God envisions for her to be. (Special Blue Mantles with Gold Stars very similar to Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Mantle can be purchased through MarriageBuilding USA.)
- Suggests ways in which the men of the Parish can reach out to each Groom with a masculine spirituality that offers “Prayers and a ‘Spiritual Tool Box’” that can help prepare him for his role as a spiritual leader in their home. This “Spiritual Tool Box” can include a crucifix for their home, and/or a Bible, and any other items thought to be meaningful for this occasion like a bottle for some of the Holy Water used to bless their rings along with a Blessing that can be used to Bless their new Home. It should also include the names, the thoughts and the prayer activities of those supporting the Groom in the months before his wedding.
- Continues to support the newly married couple after the Wedding through prayer but will include correspondence with suggestions or ideas along with materials that can help create meaningful Catholic traditions and spiritual habits are passed along in a timely fashion during their first year of marriage. An example is a Blessing of the Family Christmas Tree that will be sent or given to them in early December. To help in this regard, ideas are being assembled into reproducible materials to carry out this part of Mary’s Mantle Ministries. Sending of special ideas during the liturgical year will help to encourage this newly married couple to make their home a blessed and prayerful place.
What a wonderful Gift this Ministry can be in the life of a Parish and in the life of each engaged and newly married couple that has come to a Parish to be married.
In the Catholic Faith, Christian Marriage is NOT a private affair.
This Ministry can put meaning into these words by having parishioners be more intentional in the lives of the engaged couples being married in their Parish. Through Mary’s Mantle, these couples will encounter the love of the Lord in a very special way and be encouraged in a devotion to the Blessed Mother who promises to be “their safe refuge.”. We believe the time of Marriage Preparation can be one of the most fertile opportunities we have for evangelization of young adults today. Mary’s Mantle “gifts” them throughout this time of preparation, and then into their marriage, by “blanketing” them with many prayers and acts of kindness that evangelizes through the heart.
Mary’s Mantle started in the Diocese of Rockford as a way to involve the local parish members of the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (DCCW) in the implementation of the National Pastoral Initiative for Marriage. It has been endorsed by the Very Reverend Thomas G. Doran, Retired Bishop of the Diocese of Rockford, IL.
Parish Women’s Groups and Men’s Groups are one excellent avenue in which this effort can be facilitated. A complete booklet with details on starting Mary’s Mantle, special Prayer Cards, and other materials will be available on this website after Sep 1, 2014. For more information contact Lorrie Gramer at 816-289-0523.
Lorrie will be presenting a workshop on Mary’s Mantle at the National Conference of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) in Grand Rapids, MI September 25, 2014.
Materials will be available to begin this exciting ministry in your parish.
Her workshop is being sponsored by the Spirituality Commission.