By Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Bishops throughout the U.S. led prayer services in their respective cathedrals on Friday. The Bishops’ Conference (USCCB) in the U.S. had promoted the prayer under the title Reconsecrate our Nation to Our Lady.
In Los Angeles
Archbishop José Gomez, the President of the USCCB, and the Archbishop of Los Angeles, led a 37-minute prayer service at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. People were able to tune in through Facebook, YouTube and the Archdiocese’s web site. The Archbishop recalled that the U.S. was evangelized by missionaries “under the mantle of Our Lady of Guadalupe”. Later on, he said, Mary became the “patroness of the United States of America”. “Now, in this difficult hour”, he said, “we renew our consecration to her. We entrust to her motherly heart, all our sufferings and anxieties, all our fears for the future”.
In Washington, D.C.
Archbishop Wilton Gregory also participated in the reconsecration. In remarks prior to the consecration, he said the consecration would be a petition for “Our Blessed Mother to gaze favourably upon us in our need.” He led a special liturgy at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, offering a “common prayer” to reconsecrate the country “to her maternal care and loving protection”. On Friday, Archbishop Gregory invoked Mary as “our sign of sure hope and comfort”. He asked that through her intercession, the country and its needs might be “blessed and strengthened, that faith be revived and nourished, hope sustained and enlightened, charity awakened and animated”.
History of Marian consecration in the U.S.
The first consecration of the U.S. to Mary took place in 1792 through a pastoral letter written by the United States’ first Bishop, John Carroll of Baltimore. In 1847, she was formally declared the Patroness of the U.S. under the title of the Immaculate Conception. When the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was completed in 1959, Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle of Washington, D.C. consecrated the country once again to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. The last time that the U.S. Bishops consecrated the country to Mary under the title of Immaculate Conception was on 11 November 2006. At that time, all the bishops meeting for their annual November meeting gathered together in the National Shrine at noon.
Coronavirus in the United States
As of Saturday morning, the United States has reported 1,131,492 confirmed cases of Coronavirus. 161,563 have recovered and 65,776 people have died because of the virus. The first known in the U.S. was confirmed on 21 January and the first death due to Covid-19 took place in early February.