The Virgin Mary our Blessed Mother has had a special presence in the Americas for over five hundred years. Christopher Columbus named his flagship the Santa Maria. The Spanish and French missionaries, who came along with the explorers introduced Mary to the native people they sought to evangelize. Many towns, cities and rivers received her name under her various titles. The full name of the City of Los Angeles is actually La Reina de Los Angeles, Our Lady, Queen of the Angels. The Virgin of Guadalupe was the first Native American Madonna, an apparition of Mary in Mexico to Juan Diego, an Aztec converted to Christianity. Her image left on his cloak became beloved by the Mexican people, both in Mexico and in the United States. Shortly after the birth of the United States, the Vatican established the diocese of Baltimore, which included all of the original thirteen colonies. Father John Carroll was named the first bishop in 1791 and he chose the Holy Mother of Our Lord as the special patroness of the Diocese, placing it under the her powerful protection. Every country adopts a patron saint or saints which are members of the heavenly court who are special intercessors for all those within a particular country’s borders. It took the bishops of the newly created United States of American 70 years but at the sixth Plenary Council of Baltimore held in 1846, the bishops of the United States unanimously chose our Blessed Mother, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, to be the Patroness of the United States of America. They were not speaking of the Incarnation, which is the mystery in which the eternal Son of God became Flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the working of the Holy Spirit. Instead they were speaking of the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother Saint Anne, of which the conception took place as a result of normal relations between Saint Anne and her husband Saint Joachim, but it did not involve the transmission of the original sin of Adam and Eve. The preservation from original sin in the soul of Mary at her conception became known as the Immaculate Conception. The Bishops in 1849 requested that the Pope declare the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception an article of faith. Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854 confirmed that long-held belief that was based on various passages in the Bible, that Mary was born free from all stain of original sin. Since then hundreds of churches in the United States have been named after the Immaculate Conception. In 1959 the largest church in the United States was opened in Washington D.C. also dedicated to Mary’s Immaculate Conception. After the recent violence at the U.S. Capitol Building, when Congress was in the process of certifying the presidential election results, Pope Francis, on January 10, 2021, prayed for the United States. He said “ I extend an affectionate greeting to the people of the United States of America, shaken by the recent siege of Congress. I pray for those who lost their lives, five lost in those dramatic moments. I reaffirm that violence is always self-destructive. Nothing is gained with violence and so much is lost. I urge the authority of the state and the entire population to maintain a high sense of responsibility in order to calm the spirits, promote national reconciliation and protect the democratic values rooted in American society. Francis prayed that “Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the United States of America”, would “help to keep alive the culture of encounter, the culture of caring, as the way to build together the common good, and may she do so with all who live in that land.”