“Hail, full of grace!” Luke 1:28
The Archangel Gabriel paid homage to the Blessed Virgin’s holiness when he came to announce God’s plan to her. From the moment of her conception, Mary was made to be God’s mother.
This obviously occurred many centuries before America was settled by Christian people.
The first Christians to arrive here from Europe sailed a ship called the Santa Maria. Hernan Cortes prayed to the Purisima to deliver the people of the continent from disease. King Philip IV declared that America stood under the heavenly care of the Blessed Virgin.
The Blessed Mother herself came to our continent, appearing to St. Juan Diego on Tepeyac hill.
In 1792, when Bishop John Carroll assumed the pastoral leadership of the entire church in the United States, he wrote to all the faithful people:
I earnestly request that, to the exercise of the sublimest virtues of faith, hope, and charity, you shall join a fervent and well-regulated devotion to the Holy Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… Your duty is to continue zealously to imitate her virtues and rely on her motherly superintendence.
All this occurred in America before a single President ever resided in Washington, D.C. Before a single game of baseball was ever played. Before Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem.
…Sometimes we find ourselves surrounded by Protestants, and we get a little nervous. Sometimes we might think to ourselves, ‘Maybe I had better keep my rosary beads in my pocket until I retire to the privacy of my own Catholic home.’
But my point is this: Not only is it ungrateful and impious for any Christian not to venerate the holy Mother of God, it is also downright un-American.
Don’t we live in a state ultimately named for the Virgin? Isn’t our next-door neighbor Mary-land? What’s the oldest city in English-speaking North America? St. Mary’s City. In English-speaking Canada? St. Marie among the Hurons. What’s the largest completed church in the western hemisphere? Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
Our land belongs to the Blessed Mother. We proudly salute our patroness.
And if anyone makes an anti-Catholic crack about worshiping the Virgin…Well, we will remain calm. We will not report it to the House Un-American Activities Committee.
No, we will just patiently reply, ‘Friend, listen. Let’s start right here with your King James Bible, and let’s read about the ‘favoured Virgin’ who became the ‘handmaiden of the Lord.’