WASHINGTON (CNS) — Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has announced the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops May 1 in consecrating the two nations to the care of the Blessed Mother under the title “Mary, Mother of the Church.”
“This will give the church the occasion to pray for Our Lady’s continued protection of the vulnerable, healing of the unwell and wisdom for those who work to cure this terrible virus,” said Archbishop Gomez in a letter to the U.S. bishops. Each year, the church seeks the special intercession of the Mother of God during the month of May.
“This year, we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as we face together the effects of the global pandemic,” he said.
Archbishop Gomez will lead the prayer of reconsecration May 1 at 2 p.m. (CDT) and has invited the bishops to join in from their respective dioceses and asked them to extend the invitation to the faithful in their dioceses for their participation.
The service can be viewed at http://www.usccb.org/consecration. Worship aids in English and Spanish also can be downloaded from the site.
In an April 29 email to pastors in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Bishop Donald Kettler invited local Catholics to participate in the reconsecration. He also invited pastors to consider reconsecrating their parishes to Mary and livestream the service at a different time for their parishioners.
This consecration reaffirms the bishops’ previous consecrations of the United States to Mary. In 1792, the first bishop of the United States, Bishop John Carroll, consecrated the nation to Mary under the title Immaculate Conception, and in 1846, the bishops unanimously chose Mary under that title as the patroness of the nation.
In 1959, Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle of Washington again consecrated the United States to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This was the year when construction of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington was completed. The national shrine was elevated to minor basilica status by St. John Paul ll Oct. 12, 1990. This was renewed by the U.S. bishops Nov. 11, 2006.
This reconsecration follows the Latin American bishops’ council who consecrated Latin America and the Caribbean to Our Lady of Guadalupe on Easter.