The recently restored Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Baltimore, celebrates is celebrating its bicentennial this week, in ceremonies that began last week-end and will continue through tomorrow. In a liturgical ceremony, the United States has been re-consecrated to the protection of its patroness, the Immaculate Conception, with special mention of the immaculate and sorrowful heart of Mary.
French ambassador, Jean-David Levitte, was in Baltimore for a presentation ceremony yesterday, as France gave many donations for the construction of the basilica. Tomorrow, there will be a Mass with bishops from throughout the United States. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Holy See nuncio to the United States, is expected to preside.
EWTN broadcast today's Mass for the consecration of the United States to the Immaculate Conception. That Mass will be re-broadcast at 7:00 p.m. today Eastern time. EWTN will also broadcast tomorrorw's Mass in honor of the restoration of the Basilica at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. If you do not have EWTN on your cable television service, you can watch live from your computer (Go to EWTN, hold your cursor over "Television" at the top of the screen, select "Live TV - English", and select Real Video or Windows Media.)
The prayer for the consecration is the same one composed in 1959 for the dedication of the Basilica and the consecration of the country to the Immaculate Conception:
“Most holy trinity: Our father in heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as your spouse; God the son, who chose Mary as your mother; in union with Mary, we adore your majesty and acknowledge Your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.
“Most holy trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary immaculate in order that she may present the country to you. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom, which has been its heritage. Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our president and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our mother, have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners – on all who are in need.
“Mary, immaculate virgin, our mother, patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you and give our country and ourselves to your sorrowful and immaculate heart. O’ sorrowful and immaculate heart of Mary pierced by the sword of sorrow prophesized by Simeon save us from degeneration, disaster and war. Protect us from all harm. O’ sorrowful and immaculate heart of Mary, you who bore the sufferings of your son in the depths of your heart be our advocate. Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the will of your divine son, we may live and die pleasing to God. Amen."
Articles about the ceremony here and here, with corrections to the schedule on the Basilica's website (an erroneous schedule was previously distributed to some of the news media). Hat tip to Christopher Blosser (Against the Grain).