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WASHINGTON – As the world continues to face the ongoing effects of the global pandemic of the coronavirus, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has announced that the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 1 in renewing the consecrations of the two nations to the care of our Blessed Mother.
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. 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. Several popes have likewise consecrated the world to Mary on various occasions.
The consecration on May 1 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. 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. 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.
“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 Archbishop Gomez in a letter to the U.S. bishops. Each 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 continued.
Archbishop Gomez will lead a brief liturgy with the prayer of re-consecration on Friday, May 1 at 3:00 pm EDT and has invited the bishops to join in from their respective dioceses and asked them to extend the invitation to the faithful in their dioceses for their participation. A liturgy guide will be available to assist the faithful who may join in by tuning into the USCCB’s social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Liturgy Training Publications offers variety of prayers and spiritual resources.
All the faithful are invited by Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, President of the USCCB, to join in the recitation of the Litany of the Sacred Heart on Good Friday, which, by a special grant from the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See for those who pray for the end of the pandemic, offers a plenary indulgence.
To receive this indulgence, a member of the faithful would need to:
As an aid to this call to prayer, please find a prayer card of the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as well as a promotional flyer for the occasion:
A message from Vicar General:
Many of you are receiving inquiries from parishioners regarding Easter basket blessings. To be clear, to honor the stay-at-home order and its intention of protecting the health and wellbeing of all within our communities, we are not to conduct any form of blessings, liturgies or public activities at our churches or on parish property. To ease the suffering that this crisis is causing our parishioners who very much want to participate in the beautiful traditions and rituals of our faith, please share the blessing below, which parishioners may invoke within the safety and comfort of their own homes. Additionally, please see a note about a Good Friday recitation of the Litany of the Sacred Heart and Plenary Indulgence.
A BLESSING OF THE EASTER BASKET FOR USE AT HOME
Throughout Lent we have been preparing for the resurrection of the Lord by prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. Our Lenten fasting is a reminder of our hunger and thirst for holiness, which is satisfied only by Christ who feeds and nourishes us by His word and sacraments. When we gather at our first meal of Easter may this food be a sign for us of that heavenly banquet to which the Lord calls us.
READING OF THE WORD OF GOD
One of those present then reads a text of sacred Scripture (John 6:1-14).
Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the Gospel of St. John.
After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee [of Tiberias]. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little [bit].” One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat. When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
PRAYER OF BLESSING
With hands joined the Leader prays:
God of glory, the eyes of all turn to you as we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death.
Bless us and this food of our first Easter meal. May we who gather at the Lord’s table continue to celebrate the joy of His resurrection and be admitted finally to His heavenly banquet.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
The leader concludes the rite by signing himself or herself with the sign of the cross and saying: May Christ nourish us and strengthen us in faith and love now and forever. R. Amen.