By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON — Archbishop Jose H. 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.
Bishop Edward J. Burns asks all in the Diocese of Dallas to join in this special prayer asking for the Virgin Mary’s help in this time of great sorrow and need.
“During these difficult days, it is important that we call on all the angels and saints to assist us,” he said. “In particular, we turn to our Blessed Mother who has a special care for us. We pray for her intercession, seeking God’s grace, strength, and presence during this pandemic.”
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.
Archbishop Gomez will lead the prayer of reconsecration May 1 at 3 p.m. (EDT) 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.
This reconsecration follows the Latin American bishops’ council who consecrated Latin America and the Caribbean to Our Lady of Guadalupe on Easter.