The process to start the Alliance of the Two Hearts in Atlanta began a few years ago. Here is a report on the background of the Alliance of the Two Hearts Georgia, written by Diane Guesman.
As one of many promoters of the Alliance of the Two Hearts, I would like to provide you with the information on how the Alliance of the Two Hearts” (“Two Hearts”) started in Atlanta. Some of this report will be coming from the talk my husband Dick and I gave at the 2002 Fourth Marian Conference at St. Catherine of Siena, entitled “Peace in the Two Hearts". The Spiritual Director for the Two Hearts is Father Edgardo Arellano, (“Father Bing”) who is also the Spiritual Director of the Alliance of the Holy Family, International in Rome, Italy. He was one of the principle speakers at the Second Marian Conference held in Atlanta and spoke on “Mary in the Eucharist”. He has authored more than 150 titles and countless magazine articles on Marian spirituality. Father Bing appears on the EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) TV weekly program “One in Their Hearts” and on radio, Rome, Italy. For your information, I enclose a letter written and signed by Father Bing which explains in detail the history and theology of the Two Hearts.
Dick and I first became acquainted with the devotion of the Two Hearts while I was on a World Peace Flight Pilgrimage taken in 1994. Jean Hess and Christina DeVera from Atlanta also participated in this pilgrimage. The trip was put together by the 101 Foundation, the Blue Army and the Alliance of the Two Hearts. This World Peace Flight went around the world and its first stop was Fatima on the 77th Anniversary of the miracle of the “spinning of the sun”, that is, October 13, 1917. From Fatima, the flight continued to the Holy Land, the Philippine Islands, China and Korea. But, we never made Korea because all of us, 500 pilgrims were held in China in “house arrest” for two days.
The following year, I went on another pilgrimage, a cruise, and met a promoter of the Two Hearts, Mary Sabate from Los Angeles who carried the banner of the Two Hearts and was promoting this devotion. I remember when she told me, “You should do this in Atlanta.” I had no idea what she was talking about. I laughed when she mentioned that it consisted of “enthroning homes” dedicating them to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and holding First Friday/First Saturday vigils at the church in honor of their Two Hearts.
My next trip was to the Human Life International Annual Meeting, which took place in Montreal, Canada. I remember seeing, Jean Hess and Deacon Loris and Peggy Sananian. It was April 19, 1995, the same date of the Oklahoma City bombing. My eyes and ears were really opened with all the excellent speakers, in particular Donna Steichen and Alice Von Hilderbrand who made a big impression on me.
By this time Dick was ready for his pilgrimage and so we went together to Medjugorje with a group from Blairsville, including the former Linda Williams and her son, Fr. Paul Willaims. It was June 24, 1996, Medjugorje’s 15th anniversary celebration. The place was crowded. We have been back two more times, 1997 and 1998 for a deeper conversion.
Our involvement with the Two Hearts started with a telephone call from “Brother JoJo”, now Father Jose Viola, from Dover Delaware. He asked us to become core Members for the Alliance of the Two Hearts. The call came on November 22, 1996, the feast day of St. Cecilia and also my mother’s birthday (my mother’s name is Bernadine Cecilia in St. Cecilia’s honor). We realized that Brother “JoJo” was serious and, thus we asked him for a contact with the Archbishop, who we had not met previously. He mentioned the name of Cecilia Deagan. I immediately realized that we needed to pay attention; the Holy Spirit was telling us something.
Cecelia Deagan was planning a retreat for the entire diocese and got all the prayer groups to come to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers and hear about the Alliance of the Two Hearts. I went and signed up to help enthrone homes in the Roswell area. In December, Cecelia Deagan introduced Brother “JoJo” and other core members to Archbishop Donoghue. Archbishop Donoghue blessed the group and told them to enthrone his entire diocese.
The groups divided and Brother “JoJo”, along with Brother David (presently in Australia) and Sister Diana (back in Manila), came to our home for our enthronement. The next three days, we enthroned more homes in the Roswell/Alpharetta/Woodstock area. When it was his time to leave, Brother “JoJo” left the Fatima statue with me and instructed me to continue with this devotion.
In March 1997, the group returned and we again enthroned many homes. On the First Friday in March we were all trying to find a church to hold the vigil, besides getting a priest. Debbie Grundel got St. Benedict’s Church and I got a visiting Priest, Fr. James McDonald, (now deceased) from Boston to celebrate both Masses and hear confessions. When I called Don and Marian Woods, to join us, they remembered us from the Marist School and that helped. Father James was pleased with the entire evening and the vigil lasted until 3:00 a.m.
We kept enthroning homes because we had a large list of attendees signing up for enthronements at that first meeting and vigil. To get the Vigils started, since we knew prayers come first, we needed to find a church that had an evening Mass for First Fridays followed by adoration throughout the entire evening and ending with a 7:00 a.m. Saturday Mass for Our Lady. Confessions would follow. Our answer was St. Joseph’s in Marietta. People traveled from Conyers, downtown Atlanta and Roswell to attend the Vigil. The priest on duty for both Masses was Father Hennessy. We continued the Vigil for six months. And then other church doors opened and priests came forward offering to try the Vigil. Fr. Balappa Selvaraj started the vigil at St. Thomas More church and did both masses. Fr. Augustine Tran followed him doing the same at St. Thomas More. Slowly more promoters came and wanted their churches to hold the Vigil.
In a letter dated May 17, 1999, the Archbishop invited the Alliance to ask Fr. Balappa Selvaraj to be the Spiritual Director. Father Selvaraj accepted. In June, Judy Seeley and Charlotte Hafley from the Cathedral were instrumental in starting the first Vigil for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. The Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix Rosary Group, F.I., headed by Charlotte Hafley was instrumental in keeping the Vigils going at the Cathedral of Christ the King. This year the Cathedral has scheduled this upcoming April Vigil for Lent with Archbishop Donoghue; as well as in June for the Solomnity for the Sacred Heart and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Next year, approximately the same times are scheduled for the Cathedral. Thus, there will be eight Vigils for the Cathedral, the matrix of the diocese.
Other churches have held the Vigil. Omar Loggiodice Jr., from St. Catherine of Siena, present at the first Cathedral vigil, started the Vigil in 2000 at Saint Catherine’s of Siena. This year brings the total of four vigils headed now by his mother and father, Virginia and Omar Sr. for the Solemnity Feast. Saint Gabriel’s Church has been holding the all night Vigil with the help of Christina DeVera. Father Tim Hepburn would offer the evening Mass, followed by adoration and all the prayers contained in the vigil booklet. Today more families continue doing the communion of reparation. St. Andrew has held the vigil twice with Monsignor Paul Reynolds, followed by Father John Murphy. Saint Michael’s Church in Woodstock has held the Vigil twice. Father Mark Fisher’s Church held the vigil when the church was on Old Alabama Road. When Father Selvaraj was transferred to Blairsville, St. Francis of Assisi held the Vigil, which drew people from all over, even Atlanta, last June and July 2002. When St. Thomas Moore began construction, Father Fred Wendel invited us over to IHM. We have been there ever since, but will have to find another Church when IHM begins remodeling work. We are hoping to go back to St. Thomas Moore.
I remember Father Bing’s words at the Second Atlanta Marian Conference. He said that to combat the sin in Atlanta alone, at least six Vigils should be held on First Fridays, one North, South, East, West and two inside the perimeter. Twice, we have had two Vigils going on at the same time for the First Friday/First Saturday. Last September and November, Richard Bomeisl, a legionnaire from the Legion of Mary at St. Joseph’s Church in Marietta, was instrumental in having the Vigil there. Dick watched over IHM and I helped at Saint Joseph’s.
Last June, 2002, The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart and Feast of the Immaculate Heart fell on the First Friday. Three Churches held the Vigil for June: Cathedral of Christ the King, St. Catherine of Siena and Saint Francis of Assisi in Blairsville.
We held the first bilingual vigil in September 2001 with Fr. Serge Ward; Father John Santos, OATH, came to assist at the 1:a.m. Mass. It was held for about six months, but the Hispanic lost interest. Hopefully, one day they can have their own Spanish-speaking vigil. Father Roberto Orellana was instrumental in bring them to IHM. Father Charles Girard, who also speaks Spanish, has been an answer to our prayers, always coming to celebrate Our Lady’s Mass. On one occasion, although very ill, he almost did not make it, but he said he knew that if he did not come, we would not have a Mass, such is his love for Our Lady.
Many priests have helped to enthrone homes. I recall one of them, Father Jack Durkin, who loved to go into the homes and meet with the families. Father Adrian Pleus was also a great help, as well as Father Kevin Peek, likewise Father Michael Campbell. We only enthrone those that sign up after the vigils and those begging us for an enthronement. We still have many more homes to enthrone. The Legion of Mary uses the Two Hearts booklets for enthronements.
In October 1998, three priests from Atlanta went to Rome for a “retreat for Priests” given by Father Bing of the Alliance of the Holy Family International. They included Father Kevin Peek, Father Michael Campbell and Father Jose Christancho. Priests from all over the world attended this retreat. Father Bing has been in Atlanta various times to give retreats to laypeople. In 1999, Father Bing came and held an Easter day retreat at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, Conyers. The MIM Rosary Group, F.I. were present at this retreat and this inspired them to begin the Vigils at the Cathedral of Christ the King. Many hearts were purified and converted that day.
As I write this, Father Bing is in Knock, Ireland giving a layman’s retreat for all the Europeans. He wanted Dick and me to come and be witnesses, but we are trying to take care of home. This coming week, Fr. Bing is holding a retreat for priests on the Two Hearts and Victimhood given by Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss, DD in Omaha, Nebraska.
Father John Santos and Father Jose Viola, Oblate Apostles of the Two Hearts in Dover Delaware, have been to Atlanta to help with Vigils and the enthronements. Father Bing has mentioned that vocations will come from the Vigils. Most of the Brothers and Sisters from the Alliance of the Two Hearts come from attending the all night Vigils in their countries. In Atlanta, two men from the Alliance of the Two Hearts Vigils are attending a seminary: one from Christ the King Cathedral and the other from Saint Catherine of Siena.
To make the vigils and enthronements work, each church should have one of its groups, such as the Legion of Mary or the Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix Rosary Group, F.I., etc. take it on as their project. In Saint Francis of Assisi Church, when Fr. Selvaraj was its pastor, the Legion of Mary took care of all details. The MIM Rosary Group, F.I. at the Cathedral does a great job with this responsibility.
Why do I feel so strongly about these vigils? I recall Sr. Lucia and Fatima. On December 10, 1925, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus, as a 12-year-old boy, appeared to Sr. Lucia in her cell at the convent in Spain. Our Lord told Sr. Lucia,
“Have pity on the heart of your Most Holy Mother. It is covered with thorns which ungrateful men pierce at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation…”
Our lady then promised: “If my request are heard, My Immaculate Heart will triumph…and an Era of Peace will be granted to mankind.” Sister Lucia also revealed Jesus’ desire to have the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of His Mother be put alongside the devotion to His Most Sacred Heart (letter to Father Jose Bernardo Goncalves, May 18, 1936). A perfect response to Jesus’ request is the First Friday/First Saturday Vigil to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary for reparation.
On January 28, 1998, during the first telecast after her miraculous cure (which took place during the recitation of the 4th Mystery of the Rosary), Mother Angelica of EWTN was asked what she thought was going to happen as we entered the new millenium:
First, she expressed the belief that in the near future, God will grant to every living person an illumination of conscience -- a moment in which everyone in the world would see themselves as God sees them. Many expect this because it was prophesied by Blessed Anne Marie Taigi and others. It is expected to be global moment of truth. And if there is enough grace in the world at that moment, the world could be saved by grace rather than by fire.
Second, she foresaw the coming triumph of the SACRED HEARTS as a time when millions will be aware of the true presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
O loving Hearts of Jesus and Mary, I wish to help make known Your Plea for reparation. Please accept my prayers and sacrifice of this day. May the plea of Our Victorious Queen be heard around the world and be emphasized by the 1994 World Peace Flight to bring about the “era of peace” which Our Lady promised at Fatima. May it come by grace rather than by fire, and may many souls, especially my own family and loved ones, be saved. Amen.
The following is a letter received from Fr. Edgardo Arellano (Fr. Bing) explaining the history and theological purpose of the Alliance of the Two Hearts:
Dear Friends in Christ,
May the love and peace of Jesus and Mary be always with you.
The family today is very much under attack more than ever. Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Evangelium Vita (1995), arts 7, 12, speaks about a conspiracy against life, which advocates a culture of death. It is a culture without God and the sense of sin. With such a culture, members of families are used as sex objects and therefore they are easily broken for the absence of committed love.
When families are broken, as the unit cell of the Church and society, we have a broken society or broken church.
In Ez 36:24-28, we are promised by God of a New Covenant, unlike the one’s broken by Adam and Eve. Yahweh God promised to cleanse us from our impurities and change our stony heart into a heart of flesh. He promises to give us a new heart, new spirit, and a new law. If we remain faithful to Him, He will be our God and we shall be His People.
God reiterates to have this new covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-33. The covenant promised in the Old Testament is between God and the People of God.
The prophecy of Ezechiel and Jeremiah is fulfilled at the annunciation. When Mary said her “Fiat” to the angel Gabriel (Lk 1:28-38, Christ became incarnated. This is the beginning of man’s redemption.
This too is the beginning of the Alliance of the Two Hearts. Pope John Paul II, in his Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo Secondo, 15 September, 1985, said: “With Mary’s “fiat”: the blood from Her Heart gave birth to the Heart of Jesus. The incarnation marks the two hearts beating at the same time. However, the Alliance of the Two Hearts was sealed at the foot of the cross. In John 19: 25-27, Jesus called Mary: “Woman, behold thy son; son behold thy Mother.”
In John 19:34, Pope John Paul II teaches: “When the soldier pierced the Heart of Jesus, Mary’s heart was also pierced by a sword as prophesied by Simeon in Lk 2:35. From the heart of Jesus flows blood and water. Water symbolizes baptism while blood symbolizes the Eucharist. At this moment, the Alliance of the Two Hearts was sealed. Both Jesus and Mary shed their life for the redemption of many.
God’s love therefore in the Alliance is redemptive. Christ assumed our sins and our punishments so that we could reconcile with the Father and be cast out from the evil one. Christ’s love for us is therefore redemptive love. To enter the Alliance of the Two Hearts, there has to be a committed love. It is a love that offers even his life for the redemption of many.
When Pope John Paul II tells the whole world to join the program of the Alliance of the Two Hearts, he wants all to have a committed love—to offer one’s life in union with the Alliance of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary for the redemption of one another. In the culture of death one member of the family uses another as a sex object. Here, in the Alliance of the Two Hearts, one commits himself to love one another unto death. Thus healing of brokenness occurs.
The Alliance of the holy Family International was born in response to Pope John Paul II invitation to make the Alliance of the Two Hearts known, understood and loved throughout the world. (Cf. International Theological Symposium at Fatima, September 22, 1986). This family movement aims to sanctify the family by the committed love of Jesus and Mary. The family is sanctified by consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and by living the Eucharistic centered, Communion of Reparation with its four elements (rosary, confession, communion and holy hours.) This movement advocates committed love. It is also called victimhood of love for the redemption of our loved ones in the family.
“No greater love a man has than to give up one’s life for his friend” (Jn 15:13). If families are broken because of lack of committed love, Our Lady of Fatima, an approved apparition by the Church, promised to Sister Lucia dos Santos, that a family who practices consecration and lives the communion of reparation lifestyle everyday, will experience the era of peace. Brokenness once healed in the family will bring unity, peace, joy and serenity.
Father Edgardo Arellano (Fr. Bing)
Copyright © 2003
Please pray this INTENSE PRAYER to bring forward a new feast day in the Church. The promised feast of the world and the forthcoming triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Eucharistic reign of the Sacred Heart is depended on this feast. "I want to have the feast of the Two Hearts for the whole Church", this was revealed to Sr. Lucia do Santos on December 10, 1925, in Pontevedra, Spain, where she made her first profession as a nun. It was Sr. Lucia who also called this message, the climactic message of Our Lady of Fatima.
O Loving Father in Heaven, we thank You for revealing to us your Plan of Salvation explained through the guidance of the Magisterium of the Church. In Fatima, you sent messengers in the persons of these three innocent children, Lucia, Francesco and Jacinta. You foretold the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Eucharistic reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the end times. You also told them that you want this Feast of the Two Hearts in the Church. Your beloved Pope John Paul II has been the apostle of Your Two Hearts. Now that we have fulfilled the last requirement of submitting the appeal to the Congregation of Divine Worship, we humbly pray, that if this be your Divine Will, May we have another Feast in the Church: The Feast of the Alliance of Two Hearts!
Hail, most loving Hearts of Jesus and Mary! We venerate You. We love and honor you. We give and consecrate ourselves to You forever. Receive us and possess us entirely. Purify, enlighten, and sanctify us so that we may love You, Jesus with the heart of Mary, and love you, Mary, with the Heart of Jesus.
O Heart of Jesus, living in Mary and by Mary! O heart of Mary, living in Jesus and for Jesus! O Heart of Jesus pierced for our sins and giving us Your Mother on Calvary! O heart of Mary pierced by sorrow and sharing in the sufferings of your Divine Son for our redemption! O sacred union of these Two Hearts.
Praise be God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Praise be the Holy Spirit of God Who united these Two Hearts together! May He unite our hearts and every heart so that all hearts may live in unity, in imitation of that sacred unity which exists in these Two Hearts.
Triumph, O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary! Reign, O Most Sacred Heart of Jesus! In our hearts, in our homes and families, in Your Church, in the lives of the faithful, and in the hearts of those who as yet know You not, and in all the nations of the world. Establish in the hearts of all mankind the sovereign triumph and reign of Your Two Hearts so that the earth may resound from pole to pole with one cry: "Blessed forever be the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary!"
O dearest St. Joseph, I entrust myself to your honor and give myself to you that you may always be my father, my protector and my guide on the way to salvation. Obtain for me a greater purity of heart and a fervent love of the interior life. After your example, may I do all my actions for the greater glory of the Triune God in union with the Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. O Blessed St. Joseph, pray for me that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death.
Surely our beloved Archbishop Emeritus, John Francis Donoghue, has entered into heaven at his passing, such a true and faithful servant was he. Our Apostolate, and I am sure that I can speak for all the faithful and clergy of Atlanta, are deeply saddened at the loss of this spiritual father of us all, who did so much good in striving to bring a greater love, understanding and practice of the Catholic Faith to the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Above all we are grateful for his emphasis on the importance of the awareness among his flock of the True Presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. Blessed John Paul II has called the Eucharist the Source and Summit of our Catholic life. We have all traveled this journey of time together here in Atlanta in the great increase of devotion and piety, brought about by his catechesis, beginning with the first Eucharistic Congress, his emphasis on Eucharistic Adoration, and his building of Eucharistic Adoration Chapels throughout the Archdiocese and in the various Catholic schools, founded and sustained, under his tenure, promoting therein the sweet devotion to our Lord in the Eucharist, in the hearts of our children.
As a Eucharistic and Marian Apostolate we are grateful to Archbishop Donoghue for his wholehearted enthusiasm when he met Brother JoJo (now Father Jose Viola and spiritual director of the Two Hearts Third Order and Youth Worldwide), Sister Diana (now Mother Diana in the Philippines) and Brother David (now Father David, also in the Philippines). At that meeting in 1996, the Archbishop expressed that it was the hope and desire of his heart that all the families of the Archdiocese of Atlanta have their homes enthroned to the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary, by the Alliance of the Two Hearts. He recognized, as did Blessed John Paul II, who first requested help for the families of the world, that the family is the origin of stability in society and the Church, and that it was through the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart that families might retain or regain sanctity. Remembering the statements of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Fatima to the three children, and to Sister Lucia at the apparition of Our Lord to her in 1925, to honor His Mother's Heart alongside His own Heart, our Apostolate under the blessing of Blessed John Paul II and that of Archbishop John Francis Donoghue began our little Catechesis of reparation, according to the requests of Fatima to assist Our Lady in the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart.
Slowly we began the Communion of Reparation Vigils to bring peace in the family, the Church, society and the world. We began with 1 vigil and now have 10 vigils and growing.
In the 2003 Lenten Vigil with the 9:00 p.m. Mass for the Sacred Heart at the Cathedral of Christ the King, celebrated by Archbishop Donoghue and the 1:00 a.m. Mass celebrated by Father Jose Viola in honor of Our Lady, Archbishop Donoghue welcomed the Alliance to expand its presence through the Vigils and its Apostolic Mission. We can only be always grateful for the love and encouragement of this dear Bishop friend in Christ, in the many ways he has by act and prayer assisted us, and the entire Atlanta community to grow closer to our mission of serving the Lord and His Church, through Our Lady. What a generosity through the hands of His servant John Francis, to lead us gently to a deeper understanding of the Catholic Faith, as he has promoted the path of unity toward the final Home, by his invitation to enter more deeply into the Sacred Liturgy through the Tridentine Mass. It was he who brought the first Order of priests, the F.S.S.P. who have been given the charism by Blessed John Paul II to preserve the pre Vatican II traditions of the Roman Rite, as a heritage of the entire Church. Thanks to the generosity of the F.S.S. P. and in collaboration with the Alliance of the Two Hearts, many of the Atlanta faithful have become acquainted with the beautiful and reverent Liturgical heritage of our Western Church. We are grateful to this Archbishop also for his kindness in supporting the Eastern Catholic Churches in their growth here as well. Certainly whether he knew it or not, Our Lord has been using him to center Atlanta in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, so that the "Two Lungs of the Catholic Faith", (Bl. JPII) may arrive at the balancing and the coming to unity of the entire Body of Christ, for the eternal Wedding Feast.
As we see the rise of the “Culture of Death” in our society today, Christ’s request for reparation seems to be more urgent NOW.