The consecration of Russia and Ukraine will take place on Friday, March 25, feast of the Annunciation.
“Pope Francis has invited the bishops of the whole world, along with their priests, to join him in the prayer for peace and in the consecration and entrustment of Russia and of Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” the Holy See confirmed.
This was stated by Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, in reference to the upcoming consecration of Russia and Ukraine to Our Lady. It will take place on March 25 both in Rome, and in Fatima.
The Pope will make the prayer in the afternoon of Friday, 25 March – the Solemnity of the Annunciation – in St Peter’s Basilica, on the occasion of the Celebration of Penance, scheduled to begin at 5 pm. The same act, on the same day, will be undertaken by all the bishops of the world.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, will perform the act of consecration at Fatima as the envoy of the Pope.
A letter sent March 17 to all U.S. bishops from the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, says that a text for the Act of Consecration will be sent.
The Holy Father intends to invite each Bishop, or equivalent in law, together with his priests, to join in this act of consecration, if possible, at an hour corresponding to 5:00 pm Rome time.
Bishops are already beginning to invite their faithful to join with them.
Pope’s pleas for prayer
Already at the Angelus on March 13, Pope Francis invited the whole Church to pray: “I ask all diocesan and religious communities to increase their moments of prayer for peace.” And at the general audience on 23 February 23 he called for a day of prayer and fasting on Ash Wednesday for peace in Ukraine, saying, “May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”
Our Lady’s pleas
In the apparition of 13 July 1917 in Fatima, Our Lady asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart and the communion of reparation on the First Saturdays, stating that if this request was not granted, Russia would “spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church,” and “the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated.”
After the apparitions of Fatima there were various acts of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: on 31 October 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the whole world, and on 7 July 1952 he specifically consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the Apostolic Letter Sacro vergente anno, in view of the difficult situation of Christians forced to live in an atheistic communist regime.
Later, Pope St Paul VI in 1964, and Pope St John Paul II in 1981, 1982, and 1984 renewed this consecration of the whole human race. The consecration in 1984 took place March 25, in St Peter’s Square; on that occasion, St John Paul II, referring specifically to Our Lady’s request at Fatima, and in spiritual union with all the bishops of the world, entrusted all peoples, and “in a special way … those men and nations who are in special need of this entrustment and consecration,” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In June 2000, when the Holy See revealed the third part of the so-called secret of Fatima, the then-secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, pointed out that Sister Lucia had personally confirmed that the act of consecration performed by John Paul II in 1984 corresponded to what Our Lady had asked.
And now this year, on March 25, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia together with Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in communion with bishops from all over the world.
Why so many consecrations?
What is a Marian Consecration? It means “entrusting one’s body, soul, possessions, works, and entire life to the protection, guidance, and intercession of Our Lady.”
The history of this practice begins with Jesus Himself. He entrusted His beloved disciple, John, to his mother Mary while He was on the Cross (John 19:26-27). Meanwhile, Christians have asked Mary to pray for and help them since the earliest days of the Church.
The act of consecrating oneself to Jesus’ Mother became more formal in the 1600s.
Consecrations, of oneself or of a family, or in this case, countries, can be repeated and renewed as often as the faithful wish.
An act of consecration means a spiritual entrustment and many Catholics consecrate themselves to the Sacred Heart, to St. Joseph, to the Archangel Michael, as well as to Our Lady or even other saints.