By Bethany Bell
On Easter Sunday, Latin America and the Caribbean consecrated themselves to Mary, and now it is North America’s turn! The US and Canadian Bishops are doing our re-consecration tomorrow, May 1st at 3pm EST. To prepare, we reached out to Fr. Jarvis from @saintsephenlakecity to answer some questions about the re-consecration.
(Question) This is a big topic to unpack, but in a few sentences, what does this mean for our nation to be consecrated to Mary?
(Fr. Jarvis’ Answer) Consecration is being dedicated / entrusted to a purpose. When we say we consecrate our nation to Our Lady, it is entrusting it to her. Setting the nation aside for a specific purpose, particularly through the Bishops who have the authority to do so. It is dedicated for a purpose for the greater glory of God. Placed under Mary's mantle.
(Question) Who decides this?
(Fr. Jarvis’ Answer) Archbishop Gomez, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Interesting fact: He doesn't have authority to consecrate all dioceses, each bishop can do this on their own, he has invited all Bishops to do this for their diocese. You can reach out to your local priests & bishops about this, to see if they plan to consecrate your diocese to Mary
(Question) We are being RE- consecrated, when was the US dedicated to Mary before?
(Fr. Jarvis’ Answer) The church has been consecrated to Mary more than once before this. The first time was by Bishop John Carroll, our first Bishop in the US, he consecrated our land to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1792. We are being reconsecrated just like we renew our Baptismal vows or our marriage vows, we recommit our love in marriage all the time.
(Question) Does our nation being consecrated to Mary mean I am consecrated to her as a Catholic?
(Fr. Jarvis’ Answer) No, he is not consecrating all of the people individually, he is consecrating the nation. The faithful are encouraged to participate and consecrate themselves.
(Question) Can I consecrate myself during the consecration to the nation or do I need to do it later?
(Fr. Jarvis’ Answer) You can do the longer version of the consecration later. In short, you can say "I give myself to Jesus through Mary" during the consecration to the nation to consecrate yourself. It is recommended to do 33 days of prayer prior to your consecration also.
(Question) How do I join the re-consecration on May 1st?
(Fr. Jarvis’ Answer) You can join the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) the reconsecration at 3pm Eastern time (2 pm Central/ 1 PM Mountain/ 12 pm Pacific) with Bishops at this link: facebook.com/usccb
(Question) What important question should I ask to better understand this?
(Fr. Jarvis’ Answer) One thing to clarify, we are not saying that Mary is our savior. When we say we consecrate ourselves to Mary, it is speeding us towards God. It's an intensifying of our commitment to God, it's not a detour.
Her whole life was a Fiat, a yes to Jesus. She draws us closer to Jesus. The very word, consecrate, comes from 2 latin words put together. Con and Sacrare. Sacrare meaning sacred/set apart, making holy and Con, meaning intensifier, it lights up the word. Put together it intensifies the sacred setting apart as a child of God through baptism. With Mary to Jesus.
We are so excited at Chews Life for the re-consecration tomorrow! Here on the team some of us will be starting our consecration or re-consecration on May 25th ending on the feast day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Next week, there will be details on how to get a FREE copy of St. Louis de Montfort's: True Devotion To Mary with Preparation for Total Consecration with your purchase. As we enter into May, Mary’s month, please prayerfully consider joining us and consecrating or reconsecrating yourself to Our Lady.