U.S., Canadian Catholic bishops will consecrate their nations to Mary May 1

Bishop McKnight to join in prayer locally at 2 p.m. central time — Archbishop Gomez’s prayers to be livestreamed from Los Angeles


Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has announced the U.S. bishops will join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops May 1 in consecrating the two nations to the care of the Blessed Mother under the title “Mary, Mother of the Church.”

Archbishop Gomez will lead the prayer of reconsecration May 1 at 2 p.m. central time 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.

People are invited to visit facebook.com/usccb, https://twitter.com/USCCB or www.instagram.com/usccb/ at that time to join the livestream and pray as one nation.

“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.

The Church seeks the special intercession of the Mother of God during the month of May each year.

“This year, we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as we face together the effects of the global pandemic,” the archbishop stated.

“You are my Son!”

The Jefferson City diocese is home of the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church (www.mothersshrine.org).

Bishop McKnight made a pilgrimage to the shrine, located on the grounds of St. Patrick Church in Laurie, and offered Mass there in 2018 on the Monday after Pentecost — which Pope Francis had recently designated a universal feastday honoring Mary, Mother of the Church.

“Of all creatures ever created, both spiritual and material, including the highest angels — Mary alone, for all eternity, can look upon the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity and say with all truth, ‘You are my Son!’” Bishop McKnight noted in his homily that day.

As mother of Jesus, she is the spiritual mother of His Church, the Body of Christ on earth.

“What a great gift the Father has given us in His own Son!” said Bishop McKnight. “What a great blessing His Son has given us in sharing His mother! As we reflect upon her significant role in the salvation of the whole world, we recognize our need to honor her.”

“Behold your mother”

This reconsecration follows the Latin American bishops’ council who consecrated Latin America and the Caribbean to Our Lady of Guadalupe on Easter.

It also reaffirms the bishops’ previous consecrations of the United States to Mary. In 1792, the first bishop of the United States, Bishop John Carroll, consecrated the nation to Mary under the title Immaculate Conception, and in 1846, the bishops unanimously chose Mary under that title as the patroness of the nation.

In 1959, Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle of Washington again consecrated the United States to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This was the year when construction of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington was completed.

The national shrine was elevated to minor basilica status by Pope St. John Paul II on Oct. 12, 1990.