With 2020 ‘Year of Mary,’ Lonsdale parish seeks perfect vision of Blessed Mother

| Susan Klemond | January 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

Parishioners at Immaculate Conception in Lonsdale are familiar with the painting near their church’s sanctuary of St. Joachim and a pregnant St. Anne anticipating the birth of their daughter, Mary.

In another way, their pastor, Father Nick VanDenBroeke, hopes that this year parishioners will focus on Mary, their parish namesake, and her Immaculate Conception.

With that in mind, Father VanDenBroeke launched on Dec. 8 — the feast of the Immaculate Conception — a special parish 2020 “Year of Mary.”

“If we want to have ‘perfect vision’ as the parish of the Immaculate Conception, let’s spend a year learning what it means to be the parish of the Immaculate Conception,” Father VanDenBroeke said about the parish’s 400 families. 

Learning about Mary and growing in devotion is important to letting her lead the parish to her son, Jesus — especially through the Eucharist and adoration, Father VanDenBroeke said.

The idea for a Marian year also came from a sense that many Catholics are failing to recognize what is sacred and don’t pray the rosary or go to Eucharistic adoration, he said.

As part of the effort, Father VanDenBroeke, 33, is encouraging parishioners to participate in Marian-related devotions and events. 

Prior to the “Year of Mary” launch, Marian devotions at the parish consisted of the rosary before daily Mass, a Fatima prayer group and a rosary-making group. 

Now, Father VanDenBroeke plans to talk in his homilies about belief in Mary and her importance in everyone’s lives. He hopes parishioners will attend daily Mass and adoration, pray the rosary or other Marian prayers and attend First Saturday Masses, which are traditionally dedicated to Mary.

Other activities will include a family movie night, parish mission and a Marian consecration before the year closes next December. 

“My hope is the people who don’t come to daily Mass, or aren’t going to go and join a prayer group Wednesday mornings, or aren’t going to make rosaries, that everyone can do something this year to grow in their knowledge and devotion,” he said.

Parishioners seem intrigued, said Father VanDenBroeke, who since December has given out several hundred copies of a book about Mary.

Andrea Deutsch, 44, said she and her family are enthusiastic, in part because Mary will help with the goal of evangelization.

“I just hope everybody gets excited about doing (the Marian year) because it’s really wonderful,” said Deutsch, who prays the rosary with her family. “Father will have some things to teach us and help people know more about Mary and her role and what she does.” 

Ultimately, Father VanDenBroeke said, he hopes the “Year of Mary” will lead to greater love for Jesus and a desire to be with him in the Eucharist. 

“If we want to see this parish or any parish revive, I really think Marian devotion has to be a big part of it,” he said. “Just like Eucharistic adoration or just devotion to the Eucharist in general has to be a big part of it as well.”


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