Canada and U.S. to be consecrated to Mary in response to pandemic

24 April 2020

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

The bishops of Canada and the U.S. will consecrate their nations to the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 1 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Archdiocese of Edmonton, the consecration Mass will be livestreamed on Grandin Media. More details to follow as they become available.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited Canadian bishops, in solidarity with a number of bishops conferences around the world, consecrate their individual dioceses and eparchies to Mary, Mother of the Church, on May 1, seeking her maternal protection during the coronavirus pandemic.

Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference, is inviting all U.S. bishops to join him in reconsecrating the U.S., timed to coincide with the bishops of Canada consecrating their own country to Mary at the same time.

Archbishop Gomez said in a letter sent to all American bishops April 22 that the Marian reconsecration would be done under the title of “Mary, Mother of the Church.” He invited all the bishops of the country to join him in prayer on May 1 at 12 p.m. PDT, or 3 p.m. EDT.

May is traditionally a month dedicated to devotion to Mary.

“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,” he said in his letter.

The announcement follows similar plans made by the bishops of Canada, who will consecrate the nation to Mary under the same title on the same day.

Canada was last consecrated to Mary on July 1, 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith joined bishops across Canada in consecrating their respective dioceses to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Smith consecrated the Archdiocese to Mary, kneeling before the same statue of the Blessed Virgin which Bishop Vital Grandin, the first bishop of the former Diocese of St. Albert, honoured in 1871 when he consecrated the diocese to Mary at that time

The prayer of consecration was followed by the recital of a litany for Canada led by the St. Joseph’s Basilica choir, featuring many of the names for Mary, including Our Lady of the Snows, Our Lady of the Prairies, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Our Lady of Canada.

“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,” Archbishop Gomez said, adding that they would be doing so “on the same day that our brother bishops to the north consecrate Canada under the same title.”

The two conferences planned to send out resources for the consecration to individual dioceses.

For the 2017 Canadian consecration, the CCCB developed a resource which the bishops suggested could be useful in developing materials for this year’s event.

The title “Mary, Mother of the Church” was given to the Blessed Mother by Pope St. Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council, and a memorial under the title was added to the Church’s liturgical calendar in 2018.

Canada was first consecrated to Mary at a National Marian Congress in Ottawa in 1947, then again in 1954 at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape near Trois-Rivieres.

-With files from Grandin Media