By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
MOBILE — Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi joined fellow United States bishops on May 1 in reconsecrating the country to Mary as the nation struggles with COVID-19.
The 23-minute ceremony at the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception was livestreamed on Facebook, aired on Archangel Radio and not open to the public because of continued social distancing efforts.
It coincided with a liturgy led by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles.
Similar to the ceremony in Los Angeles, the liturgy in Mobile included Marian hymns “Immaculate Mary” and “Hail, Holy Queen,” plus the recitation of a decade of the Rosary.
Archbishop Rodi also announced that a medallion which had previously been displayed in the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, but has been in storage for about 40 years, will be placed outside the main entrance of the Cathedral.
The medallion includes the letters A and M, Latin for Ave Maria.
“This medallion (will be placed) not only as a reminder of not only what we’ve done today, but as a reminder that we are called to reflect light, the light of God’s word, the light of God’s love in our daily lives,” Archbishop Rodi said before blessing the medallion.
In Los Angeles, Archbishop Gomez noted Mary’s history in the U.S.
“The first missionaries came to this country under the mantle of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Later, the bishops consecrated her as patroness of the United States of America,” he said. “The Virgin Mary has accompanied this great nation since our beginnings. Now in this difficult hour, we renew our consecration to her.”
The U.S. has been hit harder than any other nation in deaths connected to COVID-19, with 62,547 known coronavirus fatalities as of April 30, with about 2,000 more people dying each day.
“Mary was the first person to consecrate herself to Jesus, the first to offer her whole heart to do His will, to set His beautiful plan of redemption,” Archbishop Gomez said. “We ask God to give us that same faith, that same courage … the strength to follow Jesus, to seek His holiness and His kingdom.”
— Catholic News Service contributed to this story.
By ROB HERBST