Bishop Guglielmone reconsecrates diocese to the protection of Mary

Miscellany: Above is a detail from a painting of Mary by Gary Hoff that hangs in the Chapel of the Holy Family at the Pastoral Center in Charleston.

CHARLESTON—In times of trouble, Catholics have always turned to the Blessed Mother for comfort and protection and to pray for her intercession. This tradition continued May 2 as Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone joined bishops around the nation in consecrating the United States to Mary’s care under the title “Mary, Mother of the Church.” 

The nationwide effort followed a request from Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He announced in late April that U.S. bishops would join the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 1 in consecrating the two nations to the Blessed Mother. The month of May itself is traditionally dedicated to Mary. 

 Archbishop Gomez made the decision because it would give the national 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 … we seek the assistance of Our Lady all the more earnestly as we face together the effects of the global pandemic.” 

While many dioceses across the country held the consecration on May 1, Bishop Guglielmone said he decided to hold it on Saturday, May 2, for two reasons: May 1 was also the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and Saturday is the day of the week traditionally dedicated to Mary. The reason for this is based on a legendary account that Jesus appeared to Mary the day after His death. He did so to reward her for her steadfast faith in His divinity, which did not waver under the Cross, according to the University of Dayton’s library of Mary.

“Our nation and our diocese have already been consecrated to the Blessed Mother in the past, and this is simply a reaffirmation of our trust in Mary as our mother,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “We’re showing that in this month of May and in these difficult times we want to continue to ask for her intercession.” 

The most recent consecration reaffirms bishops’ previous consecrations of the United States to Mary. Bishop John Carroll, the first bishop of the U.S., consecrated the nation to Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception in 1792. In 1846, the bishops chose Mary under that title as the patroness of the nation. 

In 1959, Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle of Washington reconsecrated the nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

In the Diocese of Charleston, Bishop Robert J. Baker in 2003 consecrated the diocese to Mary under the title Our Lady of Joyful Hope. 

Bishop Guglielmone hopes the reconsecration will inspire the people of South Carolina to ask for Mary’s intercession more often and to consider her role as the mother of God, especially on Mother’s Day itself.

“During this month especially, offer some special prayers to Mary as our mother and pray the rosary more frequently,” he said. “Our tradition has given us many formal prayers for her intercession, but this also is a good time to have one’s own conversation with her through prayer, to reaffirm your trust in her.”