With the world in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, a handful of clergy and onlookers knelt on the steps of Holy Rosary Cathedral with Archbishop J. Michael Miller as he invoked God and the intercession of Mary and blessed the city of Vancouver.

The prayers took place following a Mass at which the archbishop noted the end of an “unbroken 120-year tradition of Vancouver Catholics coming to Sunday Mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic closing churches and stopping public Masses, he said the faithful “are living the deprivation of participating in person at Mass and receiving the Lord in Holy Communion.”

In addition to dealing with anxieties about health, financial hardship, and restrictions on liberty, he said “men and women of faith are profoundly saddened at not being able to attend Mass. After all, we Catholics are a people of the Sacraments as well as of the Word of God.”

Despite the absence of the faithful at Masses, he said “our faithful priests are offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the glory of God and for the spiritual good of their parishioners and indeed of the world.”

At the end of Mass, the archbishop processed with cathedral clergy to the church entrance, where a temporary altar had been set up.

Kneeling before the altar, he recited the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as the Litany of Loreto, and incensed the Blessed Sacrament as O Salutaris Hostia was sung.

The archbishop then raised the monstrance before the Vancouver cityscape, blessing the city and asking God’s help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Litany of Loreto

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us.
 Christ graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
 Holy Trinity, one God,

Holy Mary,
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Saviour,
Mother of mercy,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honour,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower if ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comfort of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
 Queen of peace.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech thee,
O Lord God,
that we, your servants,
may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body;
and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
may be delivered from present sorrow,
and obtain eternal joy.
Through Christ our Lord.