By Debbie Shelley

The Catholic Commentator

A group of youth at St. Joseph Church in Ponchatoula are navigating their teenage years with the help of Mary who drew them into a deeper knowledge of her son Jesus in a Marian consecration focusing on the mysteries of the rosary. 

Teens who made their Marian consecration engaged in different activities that emphasized the lessons about the mysteries of the rosary and the sorrows of Mary. Painting on canvases with a cross in the center of it were, from top clockwise, Mary Hanks, Amelie Dupuy, Marianna Fulks, Gavin Hoffman and Anna Hanks.  Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator

The group made their consecration Dec. 15.

Mary Hanks, 15, who led the group, said the book, “Total Consecration Through the Mysteries of the Rosary,” by Father Ed Brown OMV, is a self-guided retreat that directs the reader to contemplate the mysteries of the rosary and the seven sorrows of Mary. The book provides meditations, prayers and practical steps to deepen a relationship with Jesus through his mother. 

“The book prepares you for the consecration and for adulthood. To think about her love and devotion to Jesus,” Hanks said.

The teens met on Sundays and engaged in several activities, which Hanks found through Pinterest, that emphasized the book’s messages.

For Amelie Dupuy, 14, the preparation for consecration has been a call to pray more.

“Before this I never had a prayer life; I went to church and did what I had to do,” said Dupuy, who has known Hanks for a long time and was glad she gave her own “yes” to join the group.

For Dupuy and the rest of the group members, the biggest challenge was making time for daily readings.

“Life gets crazy and when you get home you just want to sleep and relax,” said Dupuy. “There’s a lot of pressure to put it off, but I’ve been putting myself into it.”

Her efforts have yielded many graces.

“The best part is the realization that even if you feel low, Mary is with you and God loves you,” she said.  

Gavin Hoffmann, 15, said he also joined the group at Hank’s prompting and found it to be beneficial for his faith as well as fun.

“It’s been good to pray all the prayers and read about the sacrifices Mary had to do,” said Hoffmann.

For Marianna Fulks, 13, of Albany, attending the meeting required her to get up early to travel to St. Joseph, but it was worth it.

“I enjoy the emotion (expressed in the book), because I’m not emotional,” said Fulks. “When I read the book it puts me in the perspective of knowing how she (Mary) felt. I can get a sense of what it was. I have two sisters and I always look after them, so her motherhood, I can relate to that.”

She added the consecration is good preparation for adolescence.

“I’ve noticed, going into the teenage years, you see a lot of things you didn’t see when you were younger,” she said. “You’re going to find challenges that will affect the rest of your life. I think this reminds us of all of that. When I’m faced with challenges I can think of how Mary dealt with other people and calm down and think about her life.

“Mary was perfect. People now would ridicule you for such things (purity and devotion to Jesus). They think bad things are cool so they would probably pick on you and say, ‘You’re not doing the cool things.’ I think she probably had to deal with it back then too. I think it was cool how she was able to deal with that and be perfect too.”

Hank’s sister, Anna, 13, said she enjoyed the beautiful imagery of Mary as queen of heaven with a crown of 12 stars, but she was also drawn to her humanness.

“She was human. She was perfect, but the world around her challenged her and that was difficult,” said Anna Hanks.

Which for Anna meant the Blessed Mother and Jesus would have the best understanding of her own struggles.

“Sometimes the chapters make you have a conversation with Jesus and Mary in the sense you are with them and you just talk to Jesus about your problems,” said Anna Hanks.


Gavin Hoffmann receives a blessing from Deacon Larry Melcancon, deacon assistant at St. Joseph Church in Ponchatoula, during a teen Marian consecration at St. Joseph Church in Ponchatoula on Dec. 15. The teens prepared for consecration by studying the mysteries of the rosary. Photo provided Mary Hanks