By Sarah Mac Donald - 02 August, 2013
Cardinal to lead bishops in ceremony requesting Mary’s blessing on the Irish people.
The Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, has confirmed that he will lead an Act of Consecration which will entrust the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the Feast of the Assumption.
He will be joined by Archbishop Eamon Martin, Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, who will act as the principal celebrant and preacher at the Mass at Knock Shrine during the annual Novena to Our Lady of Knock.
Bishops, priests and lay people from across the country are expected to join the two prelates for the special ceremony which came about as a result of a decision by the Irish Bishops Conference at their June meeting. The liturgy for the ceremony has been devised by the National Centre for Liturgy in Maynooth.
The Prayer of Consecration will entrust families, homes and the dioceses of Ireland to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and it will call on Our Lady to watch over the young people of Ireland.
In a statement, the Catholic Bishops said that as the universal Church is currently celebrating a Year of Faith, it is fitting that the Act of Consecration “calls to mind the woman of faith par excellence and asks for her prayers for the people of this country.”
Speaking about the ceremony, Cardinal Brady explained, “In his recent encyclical for the Year of Faith, Pope Francis invited us to turn to Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of our Faith. I am very pleased that the Irish Catholic Bishops decided at their June meeting to consecrate Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
“I am looking forward to being at our National Shrine in Knock on the 15 August to ask Mary’s maternal blessing on the people of Ireland. The Feast of the Assumption is one of the biggest days of the year in Knock, with bishops, priests and people present for the opening of the Novena.”
“I invite the people of Ireland to come along to Knock on the day or to join in this beautiful devotional act by praying the prayer of entrustment in their homes and parish churches.”
Consecration to Our Lady is well-attested to in the tradition of the Church. It is understood to mean the “entrusting” of the person consecrated to Our Lady.
According to Church teaching, consecration “is a conscious recognition of the singular role of Mary in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church, of the universal and exemplary importance of her witness to the Gospel, of trust in her intercession, and of the efficacy of her patronage, of the many maternal functions she has, since she is a true mother in the order of grace to each and every one of her children.”
The act of consecration is made “to the Father, through Christ in the Holy Spirit, imploring the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom we entrust ourselves completely, so as to keep our baptismal commitments and live as her children.”
By Sarah Mac Donald