The crown was fashioned by Fratelli Savi, one of the most distinguished workshops in Rome for church items. The Savi brothers fashioned items regularly for the Vatican during the pontificates of Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Each item, including the crown for the Diocese of Lake Charles, is custom designed and hand made.
Generous donors made the manufacture of the crown possible without any cost to the Diocese. The design and construction of the crown was donated In Memory of Edwin Pierre and Kathleen Lacour Rabalais and the gems on the crown -– aquamarines and sapphire – were donated In Memory of Durrell L. Hudson, Jr.
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. The "Introduction" to the rite states that Our Lady is rightly regarded as queen since she is the Mother of the Son of God, who is the messianic King. Furthermore, it states that she is the perfect follower of Christ. Mary is the perfect follower of Christ because she believed the words spoken to her by the angel and did the will of God. Therefore, she has undoubtedly won the "crown of righteousness" promised to those who believe in and follow Christ.
Last December, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Provost inaugurated a "Jubilee Year of the Cathedral Church" in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Cathedral's completion and dedication. There is only one other "crowned" image of the Virgin Mary in the state of Louisiana that enjoys the privilege and it is the state patronal image of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in New Orleans.
At the time of inauguration of the Year, Bishop Provost said, "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. 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."
Archbishop Viganò was ordained a priest on March 24, 1968 and has a Doctorate in both Canon and Civil Law. He began his service in the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See in 1973 and has served in Iraq and Kuwait, Great Britain, the Secretariat of State of Vatican City, the European Council in Strasbourg, and Nigeria. He was Delegate for the Pontifical Representations and served as Secretary General of the Governorate of the Vatican City State before Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.