March 22, 2022

Pope asks bishops, priests, laypeople to join consecration of Ukraine and Russia

(Act of Consecration | Acto de Consagración)

Image of Our LadyVATICAN CITY (CNS)—Pope Francis has asked bishops around the world, along with their priests and lay faithful, to join him on March 25 in consecrating Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Earlier, the Vatican had announced the pope would lead the prayer in St. Peter’s Basilica during a Lenten penance service and that, on the same day, the solemnity of the Annunciation, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, would lead a similar act of consecration at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.

(Related news story: Pope consecrates Ukraine, Russia to Mary)

According to Catholic News Agency Germany, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household, has confirmed that retired Pope Benedict XVI will join Pope Francis in the March 25 consecration.

Parishioners throughout the Archdiocese of Indianapolis are being asked to offer prayers between noon and 2 p.m. local time (5-7 p.m. in Rome) on March 25 to coincide with the consecration. The Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can be found at the following links in both English and Spanish.

When Mary appeared to three shepherd children at Fatima in 1917 with a message encouraging prayer and repentance, she also asked for the consecration of Russia.

According to the Vatican’s translation of the messages, the Blessed Mother Mary told the children, “God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.”

Warning of “war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father,” Mary told the children, “to prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart.”

The Eastern and Latin Rite Catholic bishops of Ukraine had been asking Pope Francis for the consecration.

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, head of the Eastern Rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, said on March 16, “Ukrainian Catholics have been asking for this act since the beginning of Russian aggression in 2014 [in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine] as urgently needed to avoid the worsening of the war and the dangers coming from Russia.

“With the invasion of Russia on a massive scale,” in late February, he said, “prayers to do this came from all parts of the world from our faithful.”

The country’s Latin Rite bishops published their appeal to Pope Francis on March 2, telling him that their priests, religious and laity all asked that he “consecrate our motherland and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

In a brief March 16 statement following a two-day plenary meeting in Irkutsk, Russia, that country’s Catholic bishops welcomed the pope’s decision with “joy and gratitude,” and called on Catholic parishes and communities across the country to schedule “appropriate prayers” and individuals to combine prayer with fasting and “deeds of love.”

“We call on all Catholics, remembering that ‘reality is always higher than ideas,’ in the words of Pope Francis, to strive for mutual understanding and be heralds of the word of reconciliation,” they said.

At his Sunday recitations of the Angelus since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, people have been showing up in St. Peter’s Square with signs asking the pope for the consecration of Russia or of Russia and Ukraine to Mary.

The Fatima message promised: “If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.”

But, the message continued: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” †


(Act of Consecration | Acto de Consagración)

Local site Links: