May 2021 Four County Catholic
Behold, Your Mother
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Lord,
Spring is here. A time for us to witness rebirth in the blossoming flowers and trees. Another form of rebirth occurred at Easter Vigil Masses in churches across the world.
I pray that everyone who entered into our spiritual family through baptism this year will continue to experience the joy of Christ, finding love and support from each of us, their new brothers and sisters in the Lord.
This theme of family continues in May, the month dedicated to our Blessed Mother Mary. She is our mother – gifted to us by Jesus who said from the cross, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then He said to the beloved disciple, “Behold, your mother.” (John 19:26-27) From that very instant we have all been gathered under her mantle of protection.
Last May, as the world faced the ongoing effects of the global pandemic, Catholics rededicated and renewed the consecration of our beloved nation, our Diocese of Norwich, our individual homes, and families, to the care and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Consecrating our country to Our Lady has a very long history. In 1792, Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the very first bishop of the United States, promoted devotion to the Mother of God, and placed our country under her protection. In 1846, the 22 bishops of the nation present for the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore, determined that the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of the Immaculate Conception, be named as the patroness of our United States.
This dedication has been renewed many times throughout the subsequent centuries. The title of “Mother of the Church” was bestowed on the Blessed Virgin Mary by Saint Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council.
Our Blessed Mother has held us in her care for a very long time. Through Mary’s compassionate presence at the cross, she can understand our trials and support us, as does a loving mother. As she relied in this certain embrace of divine providence, she can assure us of God’s loving care and with great grace will continue to do so.
Our Holy Mother not only understands our trials but can intercede for us. The Catechism informs us that, “Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er) . . . We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.” (CCC 2679)
There are many prayers to Mary. One of the most well-known, second only to the Hail Mary, also comes from scripture. This prayer of Mary, known as the Magnificat, begins, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47)
We can learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose entire life was an ongoing Magnificat. She allowed the Spirit of God to have full authority in her life. She did not keep Him to herself but instead shared the meaning and experience with others.
Aware that life in the Spirit consists of serving others, she “left with haste” on a 100-mile journey through dangerous terrain to the hill country to tend to the needs of her elderly cousin Elizabeth.
Like our Mother Mary, I pray that you invite the Spirit of God to have full authority in your life, and if necessary, are given the strength to endure the journey in service to Jesus.
Our new brothers and sisters, who came into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil, received the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. This is the same Spirit we all received. It is our baptismal promise to share in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit among us.
Through the renewal of this promise and your service to the Lord and His people, may your soul proclaim the greatness of the Lord and your spirit rejoice in God our Savior.
I extend my continued prayers for everyone’s safety and renewed health.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Michael R. Cote
Bishop of Norwich