Everything you need to know about the reconsecration of the United States to “Mary, Mother of the Church.”
Friday, May 1, at 3 p.m. EDT, Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will reconsecrate the United States to Mary under the title “Mother of the Church.”
Here is everything you need to know about this upcoming celebration!
What is a consecration to Mary?
The collective dedication or entrustment of a nation to Mary calls all people to imitate Mary’s perfect love of and trust in her son. It also entrusts those in need to her intercession.
When is it?
Friday, May 1st, 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Why May 1?
The month of May is dedicated to remembering and renewing our devotion to Mary, so it is fitting that we use this month to recommit ourselves and our nation to her care.
What will the experience be like?
We don’t have a program yet, but here is what we know: The reconsecration will essentially be like a prayer service. The service will be live-streamed across the nation with tens of thousands of Catholics around North America joining in. There will be music, spoken prayers, scripture readings and a short homily. You can also expect the service to be bilingual.
Who is doing it?
USCCB President and Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez, will preside with priests, bishops, and archbishops participating across the U.S.
Where is it happening?
When Archbishop Gomez invited the nation to join him in praying the litany to the Sacred Heart on Good Friday, he led that service from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. We don’t know the location for the reconsecration, but the Cathedral is a safe bet.
Why is it happening?
In a letter sent to all U.S. Bishops, Archbishop Gomez said, “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. 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.”
What’s special about that title?
“Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church,” is a title given to Mary by Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council. The Vatican II document Lumen Gentium lays out Mary’s work for salvation and emphasizes her role alongside Christ in redeeming the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) paragraph 964 states, “Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it.” This title reminds us that Mary is the Mother of Jesus, and we – as members of the Church – are part of the body of Christ. And so, Mary is the mother of the whole Church and all its members.
We could also note Mary’s scriptural role at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. It was at the wedding of Cana when Mary interceded on behalf of the bride and groom when the wine ran out, encouraged her son to embrace His mission, and told the servants to, “do whatever He commands you to do,” (John 2:5). During this time of pandemic, we too can turn to Mary in our pain and sorrow, our fear and anxiety, and ask her to intercede for us.
Why is it a REconsecration?
This is a reconsecration because the U.S. has already been consecrated to Mary! In 1847 Pope Pius IX approved the U.S. Bishops’ decision to name Mary as patroness of the United States under the title “Immaculate Conception.”’ The U.S. Bishops reconsecrated the nation to the Blessed Mother under the same title in 1959 upon the dedication of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
Does the reconsecration overwrite the old one?
According to the USCCB: “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.”
Is anyone else doing this?
Yes! The reconsecration on May 1st will coincide with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), who will also consecrate Canada to Mary under the title, “Mother of the Church.” On Easter Sunday the bishops’ conference of Latin America and the Caribbean consecrated their nations to the care of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Pope Francis recently established the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, as a source of protection and strength.