May is traditionally dedicated in a special way to honoring and seeking the intercession of Mary as the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. This year, we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as together, we face the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Reconsecration of our country and diocese to the protection of Mary
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the USCCB, announced that the U.S. bishops would join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on Friday, May 1 in renewing the consecrations of the two nations to the care of our Blessed Mother.
Locally, Bishop Walkowiak led the prayer of reconsecration of our diocese and the cathedral to the protection of Our Lady, under the title Mary, Mother of the Church. The prayer service was celebrated on May 1 in English and Spanish and livestreamed on the Diocese of Grand Rapids Facebook page:
Our broadcasts ran concurrent with the service from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles celebrated by Archbishop Gomez.
The renewal of consecration on May 1 did not change the designation of Mary as the Patroness of the United States under the title of the Immaculate Conception. Rather, the prayer reaffirms and renews previous Marian entrustments, and unites us in solidarity with our Holy Father, who recently established the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, as a source of protection and strength.
Why Mary stands out among the saints
As the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary has a unique position among the saints, indeed, among all creatures. She is exalted, yet still one of us. Why does Mary have such a prominent place in the communion of saints?
As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reflected in Deus Caritas Est (Dec. 2005), “Outstanding among the saints is Mary, Mother of the Lord and mirror of all holiness. Mary’s greatness consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself. She is lowly: her only desire is to be the handmaid of the Lord (cf. Lk 1:38, 48).”
Mary, more than anyone, can show us Jesus, lead us to him and teach us to know and love him, “so that we too can become capable of true love and be fountains of living water in the midst of a thirsting world.”
Pope urges Catholics to unite through praying the rosary in May (Catholic News Agency)
When your heart is anxious, turn to Mary and say, “Mary, put my heart at peace.” When your mind is too busy, look to Mary and pray, “Mary, settle down my mind.” When you want to grow and deepen your life, look to Mary and beg, “Mary, just as you helped Jesus grow in wisdom and grace, help me also to advance on the spiritual path which God has laid out for me.” (from the book Images of Mary).
Celebrating motherhood in May
May is also dedicated to recognizing moms, grandmothers, stepmoms, mothers-to-be and all women who in and through their lives encompass the qualities of motherhood. It’s also important to realize that Mother’s Day can be difficult or painful for women who struggle with infertility, the loss of a child or children, or who are estranged from their own mothers.
Prayers by and for mothers (Creighton Online Ministries)
Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service (March 2020-March 2021)
Healing after abortion: Project Rachel
Fertility Support & Education: Franciscan Life Process Center
Pregnancy Support: HELP Pregnancy Crisis Aid
Sign up to receive the link for Mundelein Seminary’s Virtual May Crowing on May 3, 1 p.m. CDT/2 p.m. EDT
Pray the Magnficat/Canticle of Mary (UDayton)
From the USCCB: About Mary | How to pray the rosary | Pray for Life during May
The Marian devotion of May Crowning (Q&A with The Arlington Catholic Herald)