Several Ukrainian bishops welcome Pope Francis’ decision to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25.
March 17, 2022
Archive photo of Our Lady of Fatima carried in procession (AFP or licensors)
By Devin Watkins
The Latin Rite and Byzantine Rite Catholic Bishops of Ukraine expressed their gratitude to Pope Francis for his desire to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
As the Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine left many dead, the Holy See’s press office announced Tuesday evening that the pope would perform the act of consecration on March 25.
The consecration will take place during a penitential celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica presided over by Pope Francis. The same act of consecration will be performed the same day by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal chaplain, at the Marian shrine of Fatima, in Portugal.
The paternal concern of the pope
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, welcomed the news “amid the tragedy of the bloody war in Ukraine.”
“This is a long-awaited spiritual act by the Ukrainian people. Since the beginning of the Russian aggression in 2014, Ukrainian Catholics have urged this law to prevent the escalation of the war and the dangers coming from Russia.
He added that he had frequently conveyed this request to the “paternal concern” of Pope Francis.
Entrust sufferings and hopes to Our Lady
The Major Archbishop of kyiv-Haly? thanked the Pope for having decided to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In an apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary requested that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart, adding in the apparition that if the request was not granted, Russia would spread “her errors in the whole world, favoring wars and persecution of the Church”.
Major Archbishop Shevchuk noted that Our Lady’s words were fulfilled when she said “the good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be destroyed.
“Let us entrust to the Immaculate Heart of Mary all our sufferings and our hopes for peace in our martyred country.
Conversion to Christ
The Archbishop of Lviv, Mieczys?aw Mokrzycki, joined in the pope’s thanks for this gesture.
He told Vatican News that the Latin Rite Catholic bishops of Ukraine have written to Pope Francis urging him to consecrate Russia to Our Lady of Fatima.
“In 1917, Our Lady of Fatima said that, to stop war and the persecution of the Church, we must pray and consecrate Russia to her Heart and also take communion on the first five Saturdays of the month.”
Bishop Mokrzycki repeated the promise of the Virgin Mary that “Russia would convert and we would have peace” if these requests were granted.
In response, the bishops of Ukraine are urging the faithful in the country to prepare for the act of consecration with a novena of prayer beginning March 17.
“We hope and believe that this law will bring us peace and that the war will end soon,” Archbishop Mokrzycki concluded.
Ancient tradition of consecration
Consecration to the Mother of God is an ancient tradition, according to Major Archbishop Shevchuk.
He noted that the people of Rus’-Ukraine were dedicated to the protection of Our Lady in 1037 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise.
In Ukraine, this act of consecration was renewed in 1995 by Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Liubachivsky and in 2016 by Major Archbishop Shevchuk.
Pope Pius XII, on October 31, 1942, consecrated the whole world, and on July 7, 1952, he consecrated the peoples of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Apostolic Letter Sacro vergente anno:
On November 21, 1964, Pope Saint Paul VI renewed the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart in the presence of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council.
Pope Saint John Paul II also composed a prayer for what he called an “act of trust” to be celebrated in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major on June 7, 1981, Solemnity of Pentecost.—Vatican News