What is Opus Mariæ Mediatricis?
Cor Ad Cor
I. Opus Mariae Mediatricis is a new apostolate whose objective is to spread the kingdom of Our Lord Jesus Christ through true devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its special patrons are: Our Lady Mediatrix of Grace, St. Philip Neri, St. Louis DeMontfort and St. Maximilian Kolbe. The apostolate also has a special devotion to Our Lady under the title of Mater Unitatis, given the overriding ecumenical tone of the apostolate which is "to represent and offer a visible bond to those Catholic faithful, lay, religious and clergy" (statute 1.1), "who consider themselves attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition (c.f., Apostolic Letter Ecclesia Dei, 2 July, 1988)" (statute 1.1). Opus Mariae Mediatricis is currently a private association of the faithful, comprised of both lay and clerical members, established in accordance with Canons 215 & 299, a status that has been acknowledged by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
II. It was first established in the summer of 1995, by Fr. William F. Ashley.
III. Civilly it was incorporated on December 6, 1995, in the state of Delaware as a non-profit corporation and subsequently granted 501(c)3 status by the U.S. federal government. It currently has licenses to do business in the states of New Jersey and Texas in addition to Delaware.
IV. It currently has over 1,100 members encompassing all 50 states of the United States, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, Canada and 8 other countries. Among the associate members are 6 priests, 4 deacons and 1 bishop (as of October 11, 2000).
V. Membership is realized on two levels:
VI. Clerical members may also be members of the Society of St. Philip Neri, the clerical association attached to Opus Mariae Mediatricis.
VII. Additionally, the apostolate has a group of women working with it to establish a group of sisters under the title of Ancillae Mariae Mediatricis who are currently in the beginning stages of their community with the approval of the Diocese of Rockford.
VIII. Opus Mariae Mediatricis has a three-fold apostolate:
I. The Society of St. Philip Neri currently exists as a private association of the faithful, established simultaneously with Opus Mariae Mediatricis. It aims to be a public clerical association and a community of apostolic life.
II. The Society of St. Philip Neri serves as the clerical branch of Opus Mariae Mediatricis.
III. Its members work to put into practice the three-fold apostolate of Opus Mariae Mediatricis. It is then an institute of active apostolate, with a contemplative dimension. It "also directs its activities to extending the kingdom of Christ to those who are not yet part of it or who may have strayed from the fullness of visible communion with the Catholic Church" (statute 4.2; cf. Declaration Dominus Iesus, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 6 August, 2000).
IV. The life of the Society of St. Philip Neri is modeled on that of the Oratories established by him. He is the "special model for priest members . . ., who through his cheerful and innovative pastoral style derived from his devotion to the Holy Spirit and Our Lady won many souls for Christ" (statute 4.6). Members of the Society "are under the general obligations of clerics (cc. 273-289), further delineated in The Directory on the Life and Ministry of Priests, published by the Congregation for the Clergy" (statute 4.7). According to the original charism of the Oratory, the Society does not accept the administration of parishes, unless pastoral necessity dictates. The members will live in community and, within the limits of their particular apostolate adhere to the following schedule (the lay faithful are absolutely welcome to take part in the various community functions including the conventual Mass and periods of silent meditation):
V. When a community has a sufficient number of priest members, some of them could be available to help out in and even staff other apostolates.
VI. In keeping with the charism of St. Philip Neri, great emphasis is placed on the hearing of Confession, particularly of the clergy. All members are to frequently avail themselves of this great sacrament.