Appealing again for an end to the war in Ukraine, Pope Francis said those who…
UPDATE: Pope to consecrate Russia, Ukraine to Mary
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during a penitential prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica March 25, the Vatican said. Read the text of the prayer here. Watch the prayer service live here.
On the same day, the Vatican said, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, will carry out a similar consecration at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.
According to the Vatican’s translation of the messages of Fátima, when Mary appeared to the three shepherd children in Fátima in 1917, she told them, “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 Catholic Church, said 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 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.”
Some groups have continued to argue that Mary’s wish at Fátima was never fulfilled or that it was never done properly because the pope consecrated the world and not “Russia.” The Vatican, however, has insisted St. John Paul II did so in 1984 when he led the world’s bishops in the consecration of Russia and the world. The late Sister Lucia dos Santos, the last surviving visionary and the one who received the instructions for the consecration, had said that it was properly performed.
At his Sunday recitations of the Angelus since Russia invaded Ukraine 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 Fátima 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.”