As the month of May approaches, the church prepares to honor Mary. With the difficulties surrounding the coronavirus, however, church leaders have already been heralding the call to turn to the Blessed Mother for her maternal intercession.

In March Pope Francis composed a prayer to Mary “Our Lady, Health of the Sick” (one of her titles in the Litany of Loretto) and implored her protection during the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also responded, when USCCB president Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles urged the faithful to turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe with the following prayer:

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.

We fly to you today as your beloved children.

We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,

the protection of your holy angels,

that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.

Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,

wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.

Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,

health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,

keep us in the embrace of your arms,

help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

On a regional level, the Poor Clares from New Orleans suggested turning to the lessons embodied by the Blessed Mother.

One of the sisters, Sister Charlene Toups, said the image of Mary that comes to her mind during the pandemic is the Blessed Mother taking our place at the foot of the cross.

“There is absolutely nothing she can do except be there, and in many ways, that’s what we are all doing ­‑ we are all at the foot of the cross, helpless,” she said. “But Mary didn’t have a pity party. She stood!”

So we can take lesson that while we crown Mary with flowers during May, she has strong roots and comes to our aid during tough times.


Our Lady, Health  of the Sick

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.

At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,

with steadfast faith.

You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.

We are certain that you will provide, so that,

as you did at Cana of Galilee,

joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,

to conform ourselves to the Father’s will

and to do what Jesus tells us:

He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,

through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.

Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Pope Francis