Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), led a ‘virtual rosary’ Wednesday with several other bishops, asking Mary to intercede for the United States.
Twelve U.S. bishops prayed the glorious mysteries on Oct. 7, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, live on the USCCB’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
The bishops called on Mary to intercede for the country, particularly in the face of current events including the COVID-19 pandemic, violent riots and unrest, and the upcoming presidential election. In the video, Bishop Gregory Mansour of Brooklyn offered some of the bishops’ intentions and ended the rosary by singing a small Marian hymn.
“We pray, oh Lord ... keep away from the earth and its people the devastation of wrath, dangers, dissension, war, famine, and epidemics. Have compassion on us, heal the sick, help the poor, save the oppressed, grant rest to the faithful...who have left us and gone to you,” he said.
Speaking from the Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Gomez began the rosary by stressing the importance of joining in prayer together. He expressed hope that the Blessed Mother would help America fulfill its mission of offering “equality, liberty, and justice for all.”
“Welcome brothers and sisters,” he said. “This is truly a historic moment. Today, we are gathered as one people of faith to pray for our nation.”
“We are the missionaries of this time and place, called to bring the good news to the people of our country today. So we offer this rosary for America. We ask Mary to look upon our nation with her mother's eyes. We ask her to intercede for this great nation,” he said.
“We pray that America might fulfill the beautiful vision of our missionaries and founders, as a land where all men and women are treated as children of God with equality, liberty, and justice for all.”
The opening prayers of the rosary were led by Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Bishop William Joensen of Des Moines, and Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane.
Decades were led by Bishop Alfred Schlert of Allentown, Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Bishop Felipe de Jesús Estévez of St. Augustine, and Auxiliary Bishop Robert Reed of Boston. The third decade was prayed in Spanish.
The Glory Be and Fatima Prayer at the end of each decade were led by students from Saint Andrew’s Catholic School in Pasadena, Calif., and lay parishioners from Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.
Before the rosary, Bishop Flores reflected on the third glorious mystery, The Descent of the Holy Spirit. He told Angelus News that U.S. Catholics today should invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit, especially for difficult decisions in the voting booth this November.
“Elections can get very contentious, but I think as Catholics, we have to try to keep our focus on our unity, our discernment and praying for the common good of everybody,” he said.
Archbishop Gomez earlier this year led the bishops of the United States in reconsecrating the nation to Mary.
Gomez reflected on the Franciscan missionaries who evangelized California, including St. Junípero Serra, and their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. During the live rosary, he said the mission of these past holy men and women lives on in the Catholics of today.
“Our Cathedral in Los Angeles sits above the busy US 101 freeway. Two hundred and fifty years ago this freeway was a walking path known as El Camino Real, the King's highway. St. Junípero Serra and his fellow missionaries walked this path praying the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of our country. Today, their mission to America continues in you and me in our families and in our ministries, in our work in society.”
Following the rosary, the archbishop thanked the participants for joining in prayer. He encouraged Catholics to share the message of the rosary on social media and voiced hope that they might “be inspired to be missionary disciples, bringing the gospel to America.”
“Now it is time for us to put our prayer into action,” he said. “As the missionaries blazed the trails of this country, let us light up the digital highways with signs of our faith in Jesus. Let us post our prayer intentions and images of our rosaries everywhere today on social media, let's claim these digital highways for Jesus and Mary.”