UPDATE: Bishop Mark Hagemoen will re-consecrate the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon to the Blessed Virgin Mary at 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 1, 2020, with the celebration live-streamed from the Cathedral of the Holy Family, and posted on the diocesan website: rcdos.ca and at saskatoonmass.com.
By Catholic News Agency, Canadian Catholic News, and Catholic Saskatoon News staff
[CNA – Apr 23; CSN update – Apr. 24; CCN – Apr. 27] – The conferences of Catholic bishops in Canada and the United States are inviting dioceses across the continent to participate in a May 1, 2020 re-consecration of their dioceses and countries to the Blessed Virgin Mary, during this time of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Pastors, families, groups, individuals and other faith communities may likewise choose to join the consecration prayers May 1, as part of the global effort to unite in faith and prayer in this most difficult time, suggests the Canadian bishops’ conference.
“The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in fraternal communion with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has agreed that this Marian consecration be held on the same day in both countries, making this a most meaningful and powerful intercession throughout North America to the Blessed Mother,” according to a media release from the CCCB.
“The Bishops of Mexico, as well as the other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, consecrated their dioceses and eparchies to Mother Mary this past Easter Sunday. Pope Francis has already offered up a moving Prayer to the Virgin Mary for protection in light of COVID-19 last 11 March 2020.”
In an April 24, 2020 update to the faithful of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Bishop Mark Hagemoen announced that he will consecrate the diocese to Mary, Mother of the Church in a live-streamed celebration at 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 1, with the live-stream video viewable on the diocesan website: rcdos.ca and at saskatoonmass.com.
“Under the circumstances this year, we are encouraging the whole church to mark the month of May and celebrate Mother Mary in a special way this year,” Winnipeg Archbishop Richard Gagnon told the Canadian Catholic News in an interview on April 27.
“Traditionally, the Marian Month of May is when we honour Christ’s mother who is our mother and the mother of the Church, and at this particular time with all the challenges we are facing spiritually as well as social and economic challenges, it is a special time in the way the church can honour Mary,” said Archbishop Gagnon, who is the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
As with the Marian consecration held on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 2017, bishops across Canada may choose to invite pastors to consecrate their specific parish or mission, as well as families, groups, individuals and other faith communities to join in. A short ritual and the prayer of consecration for the May 1, 2020 re-consecration will be sent out in the days ahead to dioceses across the country by the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops (CCCB).
Resources for Marian Consecration:
- Ritual of Consecration from CCCB
- Background about Marian Consecration
- Announcement about Consecration of Canada to Mary from Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops: English / French
- Letter addressed to the faithful from the Holy Father for the month of May, issued on 25 April 2020 inviting everyone to pray the Rosary at home and offering two prayers to be recited at the conclusion of the Rosary: English or French
- Litanies de Lorette (French) / The Loreto litanies (English)
Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is also inviting all American bishops to join him on May 1, 2020 in re-consecrating the United States to “Mary, the Mother of the Church” in response to the pandemic. The re-consecration is timed to coincide with the bishops of Canada consecrating Canada to Mary at the same time.
Archbishop Gomez, who is the Archbishop of Los Angeles, said in a letter sent to all American bishops April 22 that the Marian re-consecration 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 1:00 p.m. (SK time).
“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.
“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,” 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.”
Gomez also said that in the days ahead, the appropriate offices of the bishops’ conference will provide liturgical direction and logistical information for the re-consecration on May 1.
The bishops of Italy said on April 20 that they would consecrate their own country to Mary after receiving more than 300 letters requesting the consecration.
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. Prayers of re-consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary were also held across the country — including in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon — on Canada Day 2017 to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
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.
Pope Francis declared that the Monday after Pentecost should be celebrated as the memorial of “Mary, Mother of the Church.” Cardinal Robert Sarah, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship, said that the addition of the memorial aimed to encourage growth in “genuine Marian piety.”
Celebrating the memorial in 2018, Archbishop Gomez said that “when Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, Mary became the maternal heart of his Church.”
Archbishop Gomez also said the May 1 re-consecration will be timely in asking for the intercession of Mary during the pandemic. There are more than 2.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world and almost 185,000 deaths due to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre (as of April 23, 2020).
“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,” Gomez said. “In this Easter season we continue to journey with our Risen Lord that among the graces of this time may be healing and strength, especially for all who are burdened by the many effects of the COVID pandemic,” Gomez said in his letter to bishops.
Pope Francis has also created a special prayer to the Virgin Mary for protection from coronavirus: