* CORRECTION: Removing references to the consecration of the Diocese of Parramatta to the entrusting of the Diocese of Parramatta *
The Catholic Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains now has an extra guardian watching over it.
On Sunday 24 May, the Solemnity of the Ascension, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, entrusted the Diocese of Parramatta to Our Lady Help of Christians.
During the Solemn Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, Bishop Vincent reflected that like the early settlers in Australia, we are entrusting our country to Mary to see us through these difficult times.
“Today is the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, the Patroness of this country Australia. Amidst this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we, like our forebears, entrust our lives Our Lady, Help of Christians. May she defend us from every assault and draw us towards her Son, Jesus Christ.
“Our Lady Help of Christians was a faithful servant and model disciple. May she intercede for us in this time of need just as she was the source of solace for early Catholic settlers.
“Let us go forward in our mission to make a difference in the world, confident of the victory of Christ and his promise to be with us until the end of time,” Bishop Vincent said.
The decision to entrust the Diocese of Parramatta was made during the recent plenary meetings of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, where it was decided to entrust Australia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary under the title Our Lady Help of Christians.
Mary Help of Christians has been the official patroness of Australia since 1844.
The infant church in Australia had a special reason for turning to Mary. No priests were sent to the colony in its early days and Mass was not allowed except for one brief year until 1820. It was largely the Rosary in those early days that kept the faith alive.
Catholic Australia remained faithful to the Virgin Mary and was the first nation to choose her under the title Help of Christians as principal Patroness.
Her feast day is celebrated on May 24, which this year coincides with the Feast of the Ascension.
Entrusting Australia to Mary Help of Christians
O Immaculate Mary, Help of Christians, Queen of heaven and
earth, and tender Mother of humanity, at this time when a
pandemic threatens all your children, we entrust to you our
nation, Australia, and all who live in this country.
We commit to your intercession all the members of our
community, beginning with the weakest ones, from the unborn
to the sick, the disabled and the elderly.
We commit to you our families, our young and old, and all who
are vulnerable, those who are quarantined or anxious.
We entrust to your Immaculate Heart those who have lost their
livelihood or employment, our pastors and other essential
service workers, and our leaders at this time.
We implore your intercession especially for the protection of
doctors and nurses and those who minister to the contagious
sick in this crisis.
Reign over us, Mother of God, and teach us how to make the
Heart of Jesus reign and triumph in us and around us, as it has
reigned and triumphed in you!