On March 25th at around 6:30 p.m. Rome time, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The date is significant; it is the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the same feast chosen by Pope St. John Paul II for his consecration of Russia in 1984. Many writers have linked the fall of the Soviet Union to the 1984 consecration. Today, in the face of an increasingly violent and destructive war against Ukraine, the Church under the leadership of Pope Francis is once again invoking the intercession of the Mother of God.
In a letter to the world’s bishops regarding the Act of Consecration, Francis wrote yesterday:
This Act of Consecration is meant to be a gesture of the universal Church, which in this dramatic moment lifts up to God, through his Mother and ours, the cry of pain of all those who suffer and implore an end to the violence, and to entrust the future of our human family to the Queen of Peace. I ask you to join in this Act by inviting the priests, religious and faithful to assemble in their churches and places of prayer on 25 March, so that God’s Holy People may raise a heartfelt and choral plea to Mary our Mother. I am sending you the text of the prayer of consecration, so that all of us can recite it throughout that day, in fraternal union.
Of course, this consecration is not a magic formula that will solve all the world’s problems. It is an invitation to prayer. And so we should all answer the Holy Father’s invitation to pray along. As Jesus told us, when two or three are gathered in his name he is there in the midst of them. We should pray, not only for Russia and Ukraine, but also for ourselves. The prayer that Pope Francis will use begins by acknowledging our own guilt and sin. All of us have failed to learn from the mistakes of the past and failed to choose the path of peace. We all bear the burden of this collective sin. But all is not lost. The prayer concludes by recalling that Mary’s “Fiat” opened the door for Prince of Peace, our Savior Jesus Christ
Ways to Participate
The consecration will take place during a penance service that is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. in Rome (noon Eastern time). The actual consecration will probably take place at around 6:30 p.m. (or 1:30 p.m. Eastern time), according to the Vatican website.
In addition, dioceses around the world will be participating in the Pope’s consecration.
In Washington D.C., Cardinal Wilton Gregory will be celebrating a Mass of consecration at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Friday, March 25th at 12 noon Eastern time.
Catholic News Agency has created a list of participating dioceses in the USA. Check the list or your diocese’s homepage for more information on ways to participate in a local Mass or prayer service.
May our prayer for peace be heard through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and Mother of the Church!
Image: Pope Francis prays in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in Rome, 2015. CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano, pool.