“The darkness of sin seems so great. But Our Lord has not called us to fear! Evil cannot approach the power of God’s grace. Sin cannot prevent Our Lord’s healing mercy from reaching those who repent and seek it. And nothing can diminish the care and protection of Our Lady for us, which remain as strong today as they were 500 years ago.”

A novena, a traditional Catholic practice usually consisting of a nine-day series of petitionary prayers, can also be much longer. Those who sign up to join Burke’s novena will receive, via email, short video reflections from the cardinal each month in addition to regular written reflections and prayers. 

Recalling St. Juan Diego, to whom Christ’s mother appeared under the name of Our Lady of Guadalupe in present-day Mexico in 1531, Burke invited “all Catholics, especially those in the Americas” to ask for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe for “maternal care and protection.”

“The world wrestled with famine and disease, and war in the Holy Land threatened to reduce that beautiful and tortured region to chaos. Then, too, poisonous confusion from within the Church corroded the faith of Christians the world over,” Burke wrote. 

“And then, too, we saw the forces of sin retreat before the presence of Our Lady. Through St. Juan Diego’s humble and courageous cooperation with grace, Our Lady claimed the New World for Christ, drawing nearly 9 million new souls into the Church by the time of St. Juan Diego’s death in 1548. It is this same maternal care and protection that we seek today — a care and protection that she will grant us, should we earnestly ask for it.”

A native of Wisconsin, Burke previously shepherded the Diocese of La Crosse and the Archdiocese of St. Louis before being appointed in 2008 as head of the Church’s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, until 2014.