Immaculate Heart in the Valley of the Sun

At the northern reaches of the Sonoran desert, Phoenix is known for blazing hot summers. This year, however, thanks to parishioners of our Mater Misericordiae apostolate, the Valley of the Sun will be blazing with renewed spiritual light as well.

Parishioner Laura had been wondering what we could do as lay Catholics to counteract the social violence and church attacks occurring throughout the country, when she heard a Catholic podcast that mentioned taking out billboard space. She began asking around to gauge interest for the project, and the idea struck a chord with her fellow parishioners.

While praying before her home altar, Laura was struck by the thought of the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady and the corresponding prayer “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.”

“I pictured the board in my mind almost exactly as it is designed,” she said. “This was in mid-July. At the time I didn’t consider that August is the month of the Immaculate Heart, but I felt strongly that if we were to put up a sign, it would be this.”

The initiative is meant to be an act of public reparation for the blasphemies committed in the attacks on our statues and churches, and it is also an act of public prayer, calling on the Blessed Mother for help in this time of distress.

“Everything fell in place very quickly and successfully,” Laura told the Missive. She immediately received a great outpouring of contributions and support from two parishioners who offered their expertise in design and in sales.

It seems that Providence has looked very favorably upon this project. Based on their fundraising projections, their initial purchase was for a modest 3 billboards only. But in the span of a week, the parishioners raised so much money that they were able to contract for 10 more—a total of 13 billboards throughout Phoenix celebrating and invoking the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“For me, this has been an incredible grace and consolation,” Laura said. “I felt Our Lady’s hand in this throughout the whole process.”

Consider this: that directly because of the blasphemous vandalism of a few statues, the image of Our Lady will now appear to thousands upon thousands of commuters throughout the Phoenix area. From a little act of devilry comes a great act of God. The serpent may have struck, yes–but there is a heel already coming down upon its head.

The Valley of the Sun seems to be giving us a little prefigurement of that consoling message of Fatima: that after calamities, wars, and persecutions, after suffering, martyrdom, and the undoing of nations:

“In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

August 12, 2020