LEWISTON---As Bishop Robert Deeley kneeled in the sanctuary, the sight was taken in by thousands of Maine Catholics watching the Renewal of the Consecration of the United States of America to the Blessed Virgin Mary on Friday afternoon, May 1 (additional pictures below).
This prayer of consecration was offered on behalf of the entire country by Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Archbishop of Los Angeles, who invited all Catholic bishops in the U.S. to join him in renewing the consecration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The renewal was timed to coincide with the bishops of Canada renewing the consecration of their own country to Mary at the same time.
Thanks to technology, social media, and collaboration with Fr. Daniel Greenleaf, pastor of Prince of Peace Parish in Lewiston, the bishop was able to pray virtually with Maine Catholics. Sitting in the presider’s chair at the Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul in Lewiston, Bishop Deeley prayed along with a livestream of the service occurring in Los Angeles showing on a large flat screen in front of him. On an easel nearby stood a picture of the Blessed Mother. The faithful took in the scene via Facebook, YouTube, and the Prince of Peace Parish website, with shots of the bishop interspersed with the broadcast from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.
The service and renewal of consecration are meant to serve as a reminder to the faithful of Mary’s witness to the Gospel, and as a way of asking for Mary’s intercession before Jesus on behalf of those in need. The Vatican defines consecration to Mary as recognition of the “singular role of Mary in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church, of the universal and exemplary importance of her witness to the Gospel, of trust in her intercession, and of the efficacy of her patronage.”
The renewal of consecration does not change the designation of Mary as the Patroness of the United States under the title of the Immaculate Conception. Rather, this 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. Each year, the Church seeks the special intercession of the Mother of God during the month of May.
Friday’s liturgy included a Scripture reading, the rosary, the prayer of renewal of consecration, and a Marian hymn, “Hail, Holy Queen.”
"Accept with the benevolence of a Mother the act of consecration that we make today with confidence,” said Archbishop Gomez. “Help us to be your Son’s instruments for the healing and salvation of our country and the world.”
To watch a replay of Friday’s service with Bishop Deeley, visit www.facebook.com/PrinceofPeaceME/videos. The Diocese of Portland is offering updates multiple times per day on its Coronavirus Response page (www.portlanddiocese.org/response-coronavirus). Among many other features, the page offers daily headlines concerning updates and opportunities at the diocese and Maine parishes; live-streamed Mass schedules for Maine parishes; ways to participate in Masses on television and radio; parking lot Masses; a complete list of drive-through confessions at Maine parishes; opportunities at Maine parishes for online and parking lot adoration; conversations with priests, holy hours, Stations of the Cross, the recitation of the rosary, special presentations, and other offerings; prayer and faith resources to assist you in your spiritual growth; food assistance at Maine parishes; and additional assistance available through the state.