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Cardinal Burke, at his Shrine of Our Lady of GuadalupeShrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe/Facebook

This article was originally published by PerMariam: Mater Dolorosa

VATICAN CITY (PerMariam) — Raymond Cardinal Burke has announced the start of a global, nine-month novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, calling on Catholics to beseech Mary’s intercession on the Church and the world in the face of the “crises of our age.”

In a new endeavour published online over the weekend, Cardinal Burke announced a novena beginning in March, and culminating on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12.

READ: Cardinal Burke responds to dubia criticism, warns Synod aims to change Church’s structure

The cardinal’s video message noted the great comparison between the state of the world today and the situation in 1531 – the year of Our Lady’s apparition in Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego.

In a world grappling with great disease, a war rages on in Europe. After years of truce, a new invasion of Palestine threatens to unsettle the Middle East. Theological debates are politicized and lead millions of believers to abandon the faith. A bishop writes: unless the hand of God intervenes directly, all will be lost. The year, is 1531.

“Again,” he wrote, “we are contending with disease, war, and deep spiritual confusion. Again, many poor souls are tempted to fear that all hope is lost.”

But Our Lord has not called us to fear. No matter the darkness of our age, men and women of faith are not without the truth and love of Christ, nor the faithful care of His mother.

Through Saint Juan Diego’s humble and courageous cooperation with grace, Our Lady’s intercession transformed the world and brought millions of souls to Christ. It is this same maternal care and protection that we seek today — a care and protection that she will grant us, should we earnestly ask for it.

He noted how today the “hearts of Catholics around the world echo the same anxieties of 1531,” and that “once again the answer to this anxiety is not temporal but spiritual.”

In light of this, Burke issued his plea for Catholics to join him in a novena to invoke the intercession of the virgin of Guadalupe upon not just the Americas, but on the whole Church and the world.

Noting an unmatched need to turn to Our Lady for “protection” and seek her “intercession” Burke called on “Catholics all over the world, especially those in the Americas, to join me in returning to the loving embrace of Our Lady.”

Driven by the unfailing maternal love that she has for her children, Our Lady “brought the new world under the protection of her mantle and brought millions of souls to Christ,” he stated. “It is this same maternal love and protection that we seek today, a love and protection that she will grant us should we earnestly ask for it.”

Those who wish to join the cardinal in the novena are directed to sign up via an email address on the novena website, to then receive monthly spiritual reflections and prayers from His Eminence.

The nine-month novena is aimed at “imploring the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe against the pressing crises of our age” and will conclude with a solemn consecration to Our Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day, December 12.

“I ask you please to join me in this urgent return to Our Lady. Our blessed lady is still our mother just as she was five hundred years ago. Her love for us remains as strong as ever. She will not fail to provide for her children, we need only to ask.”

Cdl. Burke will likely make this act of consecration at the shrine church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin, which he founded in 2001. The shrine is now home to a wealth of spiritual and liturgical activities, with pilgrims coming from far and wide to honor the Patroness of the Americas in the beautiful grounds and church established by the cardinal. 

Since 2011, the shrine has also been linked to the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome, meaning that pilgrims to the Wisconsin church can avail of multiple opportunities to gain plenary indulgences. 

READ: Cdl. Burke stresses personal holiness, warns against wayward bishops in recent sermon

His Eminence is a regular presence at the shrine, paint particular attention to celebrate solemn Masses on chief feasts pertaining to the shrine, and cultivating devotion to the Mother of God – under her title of Virgin of Guadalupe – from the pulpit. 

Preaching on the 15th anniversary of the shrine’s dedication in July 2023, Burke highlighted the importance of the shrine but also devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Our Lady draws pilgrims here, to the Shrine Church, to receive the grace of a saving encounter with her Divine Son, Our Lord, as prefigured in the encounter of the grievous sinner Zacchaeus with Our Lord at Jericho. It is the grace which God the Son Incarnate, seated at the right hand of the Father and sacramentally present for us in the Church, pours forth into our hearts from His glorious-pierced Heart. It is the grace of forgiveness of sins and of the conversion of our lives once again to Christ Who alone is our salvation. Meeting Our Lord in prayer and devotion, and, most perfectly of all, in the Sacraments, He dispels the darkness from our lives and invites us to remain in His company always.

The mission of the shrine and Our Lady of Guadalupe is “to be a beacon of light which draws all men to Christ Who is Divine Mercy Incarnate, to Christ alive for us always in the Church and most wonderfully in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist,” he stated.

Reprinted with permission from PerMariam: Mater Dolorosa.