“Through this Movement, I am calling all my children to consecrate themselves to my Heart, and to spread everywhere cenacles of prayer.” (473 i: May 13, 1992)
About the Origins of the MMP
On May 8, 1972, during a pilgrimage to Fatima and while praying in the Chapel of the Apparitions for certain priests who had rebelled against Church authority, an Italian priest named Don Stefano Gobbi received an inner inspiration (a locution) from Our Lady urging him to gather together those priests who were willing to consecrate themselves to Her Immaculate Heart.
The origin of the Marian Movement of Priests (MMP) dates back to this simple inspiration that Don Stefano received.
Fr Gobbi continued to receive messages from Our Lady, and in the following year, she told him:
“Whatever I communicate to you, my son, does not belong to you alone, but it is for all my priest-sons, whom I love with predilection. Above all it is for the priests of the Marian Movement of Priests whom I love most tenderly and whom I want to form and lead by the hand to prepare them for their great mission. Therefore gather together in a booklet whatever I have told you … And this booklet is to be disseminated as quickly as possible among priests; it will be the means through which I will bring them together from all sides and with which I will form my invincible army.” (15 a-d: Aug 29, 1973)
When Fr Gobbi asked Our Lady why she had chosen him to be her messenger, she replied:
“My son, I have chosen you because you are the least apt instrument; thus no one will say that this is your work. The Marian Movement of Priests must be my work alone. Through your weakness I will manifest my strength; through your nothingness I will manifest my power … I myself will be your Leader. You must be brothers: loving, understanding and helping each other. The only thing that matters is that you let yourself be formed by me …” (5 c-i, July 16, 1973)
When he asked what she expected him to do in order to spread this Movement of Priests, she replied:
“Remain solely in me, always, at each moment in prayer. I will do everything myself, O my son, because this is my hour.” (31 m-n: Dec 28, 1973)
And again: …
“My motherly action is the only thing necessary for the spread of my Movement. It is my action alone that prepares souls to receive this gift of mine, that determines for each one the moment when this will be given, that gives a special grace by which my words can be understood … This is why I ask you insistently to support my action with your prayer.” (77 d-e: Aug 5, 1975)
Our Lady used Fr. Gobbi as her ‘humble instrument’, and the booklet containing her messages (now commonly referred to as ‘the Bluebook’), to gather all priests who would accept her invitation to consecrate themselves to her Immaculate Heart, to be strongly united to the Pope and to the Church in union with him, and to bring the faithful into the secure refuge of her motherly Heart.
In this way she began to build a powerful cohort – one created not by human means, but with the supernatural power that emanates from silence, prayer, suffering and constant faithfulness to one’s duties – and to spread it throughout every part of the world.
The first national gathering of the MMP took place near Rome in September 1973, with 25 priests of the 80 priests then enrolled taking part.
The first cenacle of prayer among priests and faithful took place in 1974. These cenacles spread rapidly, however, as a result of Fr Gobbi’s travels to all parts of the world promoting Our Lady’s messages. By the end of 1996 the MMP existed in nearly all countries in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania, and Regional centres had been established to promote membership growth and to assist in the formation of prayer cenacles.
The worldwide membership of the MMP now numbers at least 400 cardinals and bishops, more than 100,000 priests, and millions of religious and faithful around the world.
Following Fr Gobbi’s death on 29 June 2011, Fr Laurent Larroque was appointed to lead the MMP. He has now been succeeded by Fr Luca Pescatori.