BRIDGEPORT— “In this difficult time we turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of Peace, to ask that she intercede with her Son for all those who are affected in any way by this pandemic,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said on Friday as he began the Renewal of Consecration of the United States to Mary, Mother of the Church.
The bishop led the 20-minute prayer service, which was live-streamed from St. Augustine Cathedral at the same time that more than 195 dioceses also live-streamed the re-consecration service to the faithful across the country in an act of unity and prayer.
“As we renew the consecration of our country and of ourselves to the Mother of the God, we implore her maternal care for her children,” the bishop said to begin the service which included a Gospel reading and a brief homily.
The bishop began his homily by asking, “If April brings showers, what does May bring beside flowers?”
“The answer to that question is why we are here,” he said. ‘If showers bring flowers, then May brings hope to all of us, that fragile theological virtue and gift in this part of Spring where the final vestiges of Winter’s end and cold are replaced with a warmth that fills our minds and hearts with hope.”
“Flowers are not enough, so we come here to the house of our Father to turn to the one woman who is the perfect patron saint of hope,” said the bishop noting that “the beauty of flowers are only a small reminder of the beauty of creation and the far greater beauty of re-creation that awaits when we are brought into the presence of the Lord.”
“We come here to re-consecrate this great nation to Our Lady, to set ourselves aside, to strive for sacred life following her example but pleading for her intercession. She is a messenger of hope in a world that is suffering greatly. She is our protector as any good mother is. She will always be beside us.”
“In the time in which we are living, there is not a person among us who does not want to be reassured in hope,” he said.
Reflecting on the Gospel of John (19: 25-27) in which Jesus speaks to Mary at the foot of the Cross, the bishop said that the Blessed Mother is the great gift given to the entire Church by Jesus.
“If ever the world needs the promise of this month and the Lady we honor, it needs it now more than ever.”
After his homily the bishop asked those viewing the live-stream to join him in the fifth sorrowful mystery of the Rosary, the crucifixion and death of Our Lord.
He then led the Prayer of Renewal, which begins: “Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, you are the fairest fruit of God’s redeeming love; you sing of the Father’s mercy and accompany us with a mother’s love. In this time of pandemic we come to you, our sign of sure hope and comfort. Today we renew the act of consecration and entrustment carried out by those who have gone before us.”
The prayer asks God’s blessings on all those who have died, those who are suffering and the many caregivers who are serving the sick.
Every year, the Church seeks the special intercession of the Mother of God during the month of May. This year, Archbishop José Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urged dioceses across the national to seek the assistance of Our Lady during the global pandemic.
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.