On April 28, 2017, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) announced that, as part of the celebrations marking the 150th Anniversary of Confederation (the British North America Act of July 1, 1867 that created the Dominion of Canada, comprising four provinces — Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia), each Bishop was invited to consecrate his individual diocese or eparchy to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary on July 1, 2017 or at another date thereabouts that might better suit the local pastoral situation.
Several dioceses have already accomplished this consecration, including the archdioceses of Ottawa, Quebec, Vancouver, Edmonton, and many other dioceses. On September 26, 2017, during the CCCB Plenary Assembly, all the Bishops of Canada will be invited to participate jointly in the consecration of the country to the Blessed Mother following a Eucharistic celebration which will take place at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa.
The first time the country as a whole was consecrated to the Blessed Mother took place in 1947 during the National Marian Congress which was held in Ottawa. Ranked at the time as the largest religious gathering until then in North America, the celebration marked the centenary of the Archdiocese of Ottawa and focused on the hope for lasting world peace.
In a document entitled Consecrating Canada to the Blessed Virgin Mary – Insights for Adult Catechesis, the Canadian Bishops wrote: “In consecrating our country to God, or even ourselves and our families, we are but imitating how Christ chose to be united to us and our humanity. Consecration to Mary allows for an even greater partaking in the gifts of the Spirit, and solicits a commitment to Christ. In order that we might grow in holiness and be active partners in building the Kingdom, it is fitting, therefore, that we should turn to Mary to intercede with God. In imploring Our Lady’s help, that our country may be protected and that our people may be more greatly disposed to the Good News of salvation, we welcome with joy and enthusiasm the joys of discipleship in the work of the New Evangelization. At a time when our country discerns great social changes, addresses urgent needs, is confronted with life-altering challenges, and strives to build a just society, consecrating it to Our Lady will allow for new dynamism to be born in the hearts of believers and will call down more abundant graces for all.”
Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, when the first Christian believers came to these shores, they planted a Cross made of the fresh timber of the New World as a sign of their faith in your Son and the power of his Resurrection, placing their lives under your maternal protection and venerating you as the Immaculate Conception. You show us how to live a life free from sin in Christ Jesus and, by our baptism, we hope to share fully with you in the freedom of the glory of the children of God. You have accompanied us on our path through history, in times of peace, conflict, and reconciliation, and as we arrived at a greater sense of unity and nationhood.
With full confidence we come before you today giving thanks to God on the 150th Anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Gathered in the communion of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we place ourselves completely in the sanctuary of your Heart and commit the past, the present and the future of Canada to your maternal care.
For this reason, I, N., Arch/Bishop/Metropolitan/Eparch of N., commend to your Immaculate Heart the portion of the People of God entrusted to me. Together with the other Archbishops, Metropolitans, Bishops and Eparchs of Canada, I also consecrate the people of our country to your maternal Heart which teaches us to trust in God’s loving plan.
Immaculate Mother of God, we find ourselves at a crossroads in our history; we are grateful for advances in science and new discoveries, yet we know the human heart is tempted by selfish interests and false ideas about the human person and freedom. Help us, as Catholics, to live in peace with all people of good will and to dialogue with respect and friendship.
Loving Mother of Our Lord, help us to uphold religious freedom in Canada, and the natural rights of parents and families; inspire us to protect the unborn, to help the poor, the marginalized, and to give support to the infirm and elderly. Weighed down at times by our concerns, but hopeful for the future, we turn to you, the new Eve, Mother of all the living, for help and for strength.
Your Son is the beginning of God’s New Creation, and you are his Masterpiece:
Intercede for our churches, for all our people, especially the Indigenous Peoples, the first stewards of this land of Canada, and all who come here to live, take refuge, or visit.
Let us pray together:
May the Cross of your Son, planted on Canadian soil and in Canadian hearts, be known as the Tree of Life, whose fruit is visible and available to all in the garden of this world.
Mary our Mother, we place our country Canada in the sanctuary of your Holy Heart, for we know that there we will find Jesus, who lives and reigns with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Let us now ask the intercession of Our Lady according to the titles with which she has been especially honoured in Canada:
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Mother of Christ, pray for us.
Mother of the Church, pray for us.
Sacred Heart of Mary, pray for us. (St. François de Laval)
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us. (Jesuits dedicated their mission to the Immaculate Conception)
Star of the Sea, pray for us. (The Acadians)
Our Lady of Roc Amadour, pray for us. (Jacques Cartier)
Our Lady of Recovery, pray for us. (Samuel de Champlain)
Our Lady of the Cape, pray for us.
Our Lady of Victory, pray for us.
Our Lady of Good Help, pray for us. (St. Marguerite Bourgeoys)
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.
Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us.
Our Lady of the Snows, pray for us.
Our Lady of the Prairies, pray for us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us. (Patroness of the Americas)
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Our Lady of Canada, pray for us.