Today! Pope to Bishops: Consecration of Russia and Ukraine ‘to implore peace’
Pope to Bishops: Consecration of Russia and Ukraine ‘to implore peace’
Vatican News report by Devin Watkins
The Pope is formally inviting every Catholic Bishop around the world to join him on Friday, 25 March, to pray a “solemn Act of Consecration of humanity, and Russia and Ukraine in particular, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
Pope Francis made the appeal in a letter sent on Wednesday to all Bishops.
In his letter, the Pope lamented the “immense suffering” the war in Ukraine is inflicting upon its “sorely tried people” and which is “threatening world peace.”
Invoke peace for Ukraine
The Pope expressed his gratitude to the many Catholics who have responded “with great generosity to my appeals for prayer, fasting, and charity.”
He said his decision to perform the Act of Consecration for the nations at war came partly in response to the “numerous requests by the People of God.”
He said the choice to perform the Act at Friday’s Lenten penitential service is particularly fitting, since it allows us to “invoke peace with hearts renewed by God’s forgiveness.”
The Act of Consecration will take place about 6:30 PM Rome time, and the Pope will lead the prayer in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The entire Celebration of Penance will be broadcast across Vatican News’ channels—radio, YouTube, website, and Facebook—and accompanied by English-language commentary.
Imploring end to violence
Pope Francis went on to lay out the meaning behind the consecration of Russia and Ukraine.
The Pope then invited all Bishops, priests, religious, and Catholic faithful to “assemble in their places of prayer on 25 March, so that God’s Holy People may raise a heartfelt and choral plea to Mary our Mother.”
ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, in this time of trial we turn to you. As our Mother, you love us and know us: no concern of our hearts is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence! You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Yet we have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars. We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young. We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns. We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons. We stopped being our neighbour’s keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters. We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves. Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!
Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life. He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.
We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust. We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.
That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3). Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace. We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness. How greatly we need your maternal help!
Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.
Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.
Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation.
Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.
Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.
Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.
Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and to love.
Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.
Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.
O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew. Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs. May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.
Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Behold your son” (Jn 19:26). In this way he entrusted each of us to you. To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: “Behold, your Mother” (v. 27). Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history. At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ. The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.
Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world. The “Fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.
Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of the “Fiat”, on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God. May you, our “living fountain of hope”, water the dryness of our hearts. In your womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion. You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen.
Dioceses joining in prayer with Pope Francis
Archbishop Eamon Martin will pray the prayers of consecration in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Friday at 12noon and people can unite with Pope Francis in prayer in Saint Malachy’s Church Armagh on Friday at 4.00pm.
Bishop Michael Router will pray the prayers of consecration at 4.00pm in Saint Patrick’s, Dundalk.
Cashel and Emly
The Act of Consecration will be prayed throughout the day at Masses in the Diocese of Cashel & Emly on Friday 25 March.
This Friday, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Bishop Duffy will join Pope Francis, bishops and priests around the world in the Act of Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Join Bishop Duffy from Saint Lawrence’s Church, Fintona as he prays the prayer of consecration during the celebration of Confirmation, which begins at 6.00pm, via the Church webcam: https://bit.ly/
On Sunday 27 March, Bishop Michael Duignan will travel to the Shrine of Our Lady of Clonfert at 6.00pm to recite the prayers of consecration
Bishop William Crean will lead the Diocese in prayer from St Colman’s Cathedral Cobh on Friday 25th March at 6.00pm as he leads the Diocese in this Act of Consecration.
The liturgy will also be live-streamed on https://cobhcathedralparish.ie/mass-streaming/
In churches and parishes, people are also invited to spend time in prayer on Friday for peace in Ukraine.
Cork and Ross
People are invited to join Bishop Fintan Gavin in-person in the Cathedral of St Mary and St. Anne, Cork, on Friday afternoon at 4pm as he leads the Diocese in this Act of Consecration. The liturgy will also be live-streamed on www.corkcathedral.ie
In churches and parishes, people are invited to spend time in prayer on Friday for peace in Ukraine. Some parishes may have a scheduled time of Adoration on that day.
Consecration of Russia and Ukraine…
Is this also Pope Francis’s response to the reported Moscow invocation of Our Lady’s support for a Russian victory in mid-March?
A friend remarks that severe reported logistical issues in that cause may indicate she has already made up her mind on the matter.
Another interesting question is how the different churches of Orthodoxy will react, given that the Immaculate Heart devotion relies on an understanding of original sin that is not shared with the Orthodox.
Is Our Lady maybe wishing that if we do want her to untie all the knots we could just ‘stop knotting’ to begin with – e.g. by looking for God and the church to support selfish nationalistic and imperialistic causes, as in 1914.
Churchmen are then obviously in a tight spot, as is Patriarch Kirill in Moscow just now, but if an integrity test is not what they signed up for, what could it mean for a national church leader to ‘take up’ their cross?
No equivalent dilemma is now facing a western ecclesiastic, another obvious benefit of the demise of Christendom – but who on the Catholic right will notice that?
Consecration of Russia and Ukraine…
COMECE, the Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in Europe, wrote to Patriarch Kirill in Moscow on 8 March, and received a reply dated 17 March. The correspondence can be seen on https://www.comece.eu/ – click on the item War in Ukraine.
The reply seems to me to use fine-sounding words, but not to the request by COMECE to Patriarch Kirill to address the Russian authorities to immediately stop the hostilities.