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Special event highlights crowning of Virgin Mary

Last Modified: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 11:39 AM

Special to the American Press

One of the most important events of the “Jubilee Year of the Cathedral Church,” is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, when, in the name and by the authority of Pope Francis, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be crowned.

The special year, called for by Bishop Glen John Provost in December 2012, honors the 100 years anniversary of the completion and dedication of the current Cathedral church, which replaced the church destroyed by the Great Fire of 1910.

Provost will be the celebrant of the Mass while His Excellency, The Most Reverend Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to the United States, will be the homilist and officiate at the crowning rite.

The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be crowned sits in a niche above the high altar of the Cathedral. This year of centennial celebration continues until Dec. 13.

The public is invited to a reception from 3-5 p.m. with Bishop Provost and Archbishop Viganò in The Historic Calcasieu Marine National Bank Building, 844 Ryan St. Due to space considerations in the Cathedral the Mass that follows is by invitation only.

There is only one other “crowned” image of the Virgin Mary in the state of Louisiana, the state patronal image of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in New Orleans.

The crowning of Mary under various titles has a very long history in the Church, both in the East and in the West. Beginning with the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431), the long held practice of crowning Mary, also known as the coronation, began to develop further and spread more rapidly.

It was at the Council of Ephesus that the traditional title Theotokos, the Mother of God, was reaffirmed and definitively held against the Nestorian heresy. Since then the custom of the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing a regal crown has enjoyed the favor of the sensus fidelium under the guidance of the Magisterium. The growth of this custom led to the development of a liturgical rite in which the Blessed Virgin Mary is invoked as queen.

“This Year is meant to renew the commitment of all the faithful to the mission of Christ in the Diocese of Lake Charles and to deepen Catholic unity in the same,” Bishop Provost said. “The Apostolic Penitentiary has given a Decree granting both plenary and partial indulgences during this year for the benefit of all of the People of God making pilgrimages to our Cathedral or offering pilgrimage prayers in the Diocese of Lake Charles.”

Provost entrusted the Jubilee year to the Most Holy Virgin and noted that it “corresponds and complements the Year of Faith proclaimed by His Holiness, Benedict XVI. I ask our Blessed Mother to awaken in the hearts of all the faithful a generous and renewed commitment to the ideal of a total offering of oneself to Christ and the Church.”

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