A call to honor Mary and to ask for her protection


As the world continues its battle against the coronavirus pandemic, the bishops of the United States will join those of Canada in renewing the consecrations of both nations to the care of the Blessed Mother. This won’t be the first time in the history of our country that Church leaders have invoked the protection of the Virgin Mary. In 1792, Archbishop John Carroll, the first bishop of the United States, consecrated the country to Mary under the title “Immaculate Conception.” This initial consecration was renewed by the country’s bishops in 1846. Then, in 1959, at the dedication of the Upper Church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (now a basilica) in Washington, D.C., Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle led America’s bishops in another renewal of that consecration. In addition, archbishops and bishops in various places have consecrated their archdioceses and dioceses to Mary at various times and in different circumstances.

The consecration on May 1 will be done under the title of Mary, Mother of the Church, and each bishop in America is being asked to participate by personally renewing our nation’s consecration to Mary on the same day.

“Through a collective dedication or entrustment of a nation to Mary, an act of consecration is meant to be a reminder to the faithful of the Blessed Mother’s witness to the Gospel and to ask for her effective intercession before her Son on behalf of those in need,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement.

“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,” Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the USCCB, wrote in a letter to the conference’s members. While the Church each year seeks the special intercession of the Blessed Mother during May, “This year, we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as we face together the effects of the global pandemic,” Archbishop Gomez said.

During this time of crisis, Mary’s intercession is more important than ever, and we are grateful for the leadership of our bishops.

As our bishops formally reconsecrate our country to the protection of Mary, we, too, can honor Our Lady in special ways even from our homes. This may be as simple as placing a statue or image of Our Lady in a revered place in our domestic church — perhaps on a mantle or on a home altar. If we have a larger statue, the family could pick flowers from the yard and gather together for a simple May crowning, either indoors or outdoors.

We could also spend a few afternoons tilling soil and planting flowers for a beautiful Marian garden. Depending upon your time frame, this could be as simple as sprinkling a few seeds in a sunny place or as involved as making a plan with colors and patterns and planting appropriate blooms.

Another option during this time of social distancing could be to embrace the current popular practice of making a “stained-glass” window using tissue paper or washable paints — and have the creation feature an image of Mary. In addition to being a good activity for families or those who love to create, it could also serve as a tool for evangelization, proclaiming to the neighborhood a love of the Blessed Mother and the Church.

Of course, we are always able and encouraged to recite a daily Rosary, or even a decade of the Rosary. This devotion is especially fitting during May and could be a special way of asking for the protection of our Blessed Mother within our own homes and over our own families. We can also incorporate the two prayers recently composed by Pope Francis at the end of our Rosary recitation.

As we seek out ways to honor our Blessed Mother in a special way this month, our thoughts cannot help but turn to our own mothers and grandmothers, who we celebrate this year on May 10. During this time of social distancing, many of us are physically separated from them; others might be separated by estrangement or death. But we can always be united spiritually, and we can and should pray for the maternal figures in our lives this month — especially as we honor the one who is mother of us all, and mother of all the Church.

This article comes to you from OSV Newsweekly (Our Sunday Visitor) courtesy of your parish or diocese.


Catholic News & Perspective

Provides information on the Church, the nation and the world from OSV, America's most popular and trusted national Catholic news source


Opening the Word: Resting in Jesus to reveal the Father

Friday, July 3, 2020
By: Timothy P. O'Malley “‘No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son... Read More

Vatican releases new Directory for Catechesis

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
By: Dr. Joseph White The Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization today announced the release of the new Directory for Catechesis for... Read More

Supreme Court justices have a history of being unpredictable

Monday, June 29, 2020
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion Many were surprised at the U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding gender identity and employment. It was one more occasion... Read More

Opening the Word: The prophet speaks

Friday, June 26, 2020
By:Timothy P. O'Malley It is natural to develop affection for those closest to us. We share communion, made possible through a history of mutual... Read More

Black Catholic leaders say more integration in the Church is possible — if all are willing to do the work

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
By: Brian Fraga When the Church was born at Pentecost, about 3,000 people “from every nation under heaven” were baptized,” St.... Read More

How do we stay hopeful in times of crises? By focusing on God

Monday, June 22, 2020
By: Deacon Larry Oney The year 2020 is turning out to be a year like no other in recent memory. As Catholic Christians, it is not difficult for us... Read More

Opening the Word: Made for God’s presence

Friday, June 19, 2020
By: Timothy P. O'Malley We have undoubtedly heard well-intentioned souls comfort those who have lost a loved one by saying, “Do not worry,... Read More

Why did God create us if we choose evil?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020
By: Msgr. Charles Pope Question: Why has God allowed mankind to continue since Adam in spite of the evil that has prevailed: wars, murders and... Read More

Racism in America: Separated and unequal

Monday, June 15, 2020
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion Imagine this. Most state governors order the National Guard in their states onto the streets to stop the destruction of... Read More

Opening the Word: A Eucharistic teaching

Friday, June 12, 2020
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Every couple of years, Pew Research releases a report on Catholic belief related to Eucharistic presence.... Read More