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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic bishops of the United States and Canada are joining forces in reconsecrating their nations to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking her to intercede in the battle being waged against the coronavirus global pandemic.
“Every 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,” said Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a letter sent to all U.S. bishops.
“Based on discussion with the leadership of the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Executive Committee of the USCCB met and affirmed the fitness of May 1, 2020, as an opportunity for the bishops of the United States to reconsecrate our nation to Our Lady and to do so under the title, Mary, Mother of the Church,” wrote Gomez, “on the same day that our brother bishops to the north consecrate Canada under the same title.”
“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 Gomez.
He invited all U.S. bishops to join him in prayer on Friday, May 1 at 12:00 p.m. PDT, or 3:00 p.m. EDT. Lay persons who wish to participate may join in by tuning into the USCCB’s social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The bishops of Italy had previously announced that they would consecrate their country to Mary on May 1 at 9:00 p.m., which will coincide with the U.S. consecration.
A statement from the USCCB recounted a brief history of the United States being placed under the care of Mary:
Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the first bishop of the United States, promoted devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, and placed the United States under her protection in a pastoral letter of 1792.
The twenty-one bishops attending the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1846 determined to name the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, as the Patroness of the United States, and Pope Pius IX approved this decision the following year.
More recently, the dedication of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. in 1959 was the opportunity for the bishops to once again consecrate the nation to the Blessed Mother.
“The renewal of consecration planned in this country for May 1 does not change the designation of Mary as the Patroness of the United States under the title of the Immaculate Conception,” continues the USCCB statement. “Rather, this prayer reaffirms and renews previous Marian entrustments, and unites us in solidarity with our Holy Father, who recently established the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, as a source of protection and strength.”
Canada was last consecrated to Mary on July 2, 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation of that nation, when bishops across the country joined in consecrating Canada to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The planned consecration also follows a similar action of the bishops’ conference of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM), who consecrated their nations to Our Lady of Guadalupe on Easter Sunday.