Fr. Michael Gaitley speaks at the New Evangelization Summit in Ottawa April 24.

CCN PHOTO | DEBORAH GYAPONG

Fr. Michael Gaitley speaks at the New Evangelization Summit in Ottawa April 24.

May 18, 2015
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA – When Michael Gaitley consecrated himself to Jesus through the Virgin Mary, he stopped chasing girls, felt the close spiritual presence of Mary, went into "monk mode" and eventually became a priest.

At the time, Gaitley was a student at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and was delighted with the three-to-one girl-to-guy ratio there.

Yet, he felt broken and messed up compared with the other students who would "do the rosary for fun" and would so easily laugh at his jokes.

"Where do these kids find this joy and innocence?" he asked.

That's when he came across St. Louis de Montfort's book on the total consecration to Jesus through Mary.

He read on the back cover that it was the "quickest, easiest, surest way to become a saint." When he made the consecration, "everything changed," and it seemed his girl-chasing days were over.

But then he met a student from France named Blanche and monk mode ended.

They began to date in the chaste way popular at Steubenville, and held hands once or twice and went to the adoration chapel and prayed the rosary together, he said.

But a trip to a "come and see" session in Boston confirmed the call of the priesthood on his life. He told Blanche.

Later, he received a letter from her. She wrote: "Dear Mike, I think you have made the right decision. The path you chose is not going to be easy, so I will be praying for you. Blanche."

Gaitley, author of Consoling the Heart of Jesus and a member of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, gave his testimony to the New Evangelization Summit that was held in Ottawa April 24-25. The event was broadcast to 20 satellite sites across North America, reaching more than 3,000 people.

Gaitley said the prospect of a "long, lonely, miserable life" lay before him as he wrestled with his vocation. He recalled visiting the chapel and sitting before a big crucifix.

A deep peace came upon him and he sensed the Lord speaking to him, saying, "Michael, you can get married and if you choose that path I won't love you any less. But I want you to be a priest. Will you quench my thirst for souls?"

Then Blanche started dating one of his best friends.

"I was not happy about that," he said. "I was complaining, angry, sad and depressed."

God spoke to him through what he told St. Paul: "My grace is enough for you."

"I need that Lord," he prayed. "I need buckets of grace."

It was then he discovered the divine mercy devotion and St. Faustina's diary. "The testimony of St. Faustina helped me understand mercy is the heart of the Gospel.

"God doesn't love me for all those reasons that attract us to people," he said. "God loves us because we are so pathetic, because we so need his love.

"No matter how broken we are, he wants our response to be 'Jesus, I trust in you.'"

Gaitley returned to Steubenville for his senior year. Blanche had graduated the year before. He received news from her that she was entering a convent, "to give my life in prayer so you will be a holy priest."

This greatly inspired him, that "this wonderful young woman would become a spiritual mother for me," he said. It was a sign for him to "ask for and to trust in God's mercy."