Pastors generate hope by turning our sights to the Mother of Heaven. May 1 will be a re-consecration to Our Lady for the US and Canada.
With the pandemic causing many people to feel helpless, bishops around the world are showing their faithful that it is always time to turn to prayer.
On May 1, the bishops of the United States and Canada will consecrate the two countries to Mary, Mother of the Church. The bishops’ conferences from the two countries decided to coordinate their act of consecration to make “a most meaningful and powerful intercession.”
Every bishop in Canada and the US will consecrate their own diocese to Mary.
Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the US bishops, 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.
On the same day, the bishops of Italy will consecrate that country to Mary, Mother of God, in a liturgy celebrated at the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fonte (St. Mary of the Spring) in Caravaggio, Italy. Cardinal Gualterio Bassetti, the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, said in a video statement that he had received more than 300 letters from Italian faithful asking him to entrust the country to Mary.
Meanwhile, on May 13 – the feast of Our Lady of Fatima – Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manilla will consecrate the Philippines to Our Lady during a liturgy in Manila’s cathedral, attended by mayors from five cities within the archdiocese. “It will be beautiful when all the people [of] God, led by their civil and religious leaders, put themselves under the protection of the Blessed Virgin,” Bishop Pabillo told CBCP News, the news agency of the Philippine bishops’ conference.
From May 10 to 13 Filipino faithful will be invited to take part in three days of doing penance and praying the rosary. Throughout May the Archdiocese of Manila will also offer on-line catechesis sessions to teach people about the significance of Marian consecrations.
Bishops in 24 other countries have already entrusted their nations to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
On March 25, bishops of Portugal renewed Portugal’s and Spain’s consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Cardinal Antonio dos Santos Marto of Leira-Fatima presided over a liturgy at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima – the place where Mary appeared to three shepherd children in 1918. In the same liturgy the cardinal also consecrated 22 other countries to Jesus and Mary at the request of bishops from those countries.
On Easter day, Latin America and the Caribbean was consecrated to Our Lady of Guadalupe during the Easter Sunday Mass celebrated by bishops of Mexico at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. At the moment that Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes read the act of consecration, cathedral bells along the continent rang out 12 times to mark the moment.
In a statement announcing the consecration, the president of the Latin American Episcopal Council, Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte de Trujillo of Peru said, “The present time demands that as pastors, we see and hear the afflictions of our peoples and generate hope, by turning our sight to our Mother in Heaven. In so doing, we will strengthen our faith, nourish our hopes and commit ourselves with solidarity and with love to those who are experiencing illness, pain, loneliness, fear and poverty.”
On March 29, Catholics and other Christians across England took part in the “re-dedication” of the country to the Virgin Mary. Though already planned before the pandemic hit hard, the dedication took on greater solemnity with the increasing concerns of the world.
A world united in sorrow
The COVID-19 virus arrived in these regions at different times.
Italy was the first European nation to be hit hard with the virus in late January, finally seeing a plateau in the number of cases around March 31. However, public safety officials in the Piedmonte region have said they believe their region has yet to reach the peak.
Spain saw a peak in the number of cases around March 25, and went through a series of dips and peaks before finally seeing a downward trend in infection. Neighboring Portugal saw fewer cases – attributed to implementing lockdown measures very early on – and is believed to have hit a peak around April 14.
In North America, the United States has registered more than 1 million cases, and it is believed some parts of the country may have reached their peak number of cases around April 13, while others are still seeing staggering death rates.
In Canada public health officials said on April 28 that the curve of the spread of the virus is slowing. On April 9 the number of Canadian cases was doubling every three days; by April 28 it was doubling every 16 days.
While the Philippines had only recorded just under 8,000 cases as of April 28, it is believed the country has yet to see a peak in cases.
In Latin America, as of late April there had been more than 170,000 cases with Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador being hardest hit.