may 18, 2022
On March 25, Pope Francis consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a celebration held simultaneously in the Vatican and in Fatima, where Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Pope's legate, was present.
Before thousands of pilgrims, who participated in the celebration in person or by telematic means, with a mere intention of peace in their hearts, the papal legate repeated the word “Peace” 13 times, the same number of times that the word “Mother” was said, the mother to whom the supplication of this act of consecration of Russia and Ukraine, countries at war since February 24, was addressed: “O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, we have recourse to you in this hour of affliction”.
The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is directly related to the apparitions of Fatima in 1917. According to the account given by Sister Lucia and validated by the Catholic Church, the Virgin Mary revealed to the three shepherd children, Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia, that the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, and their devotion, would lead to the end of the war and consequently to Peace.
“The vicious war that has overtaken so many people, and caused suffering to all, has made each of us fearful and anxious. We sense our helplessness and our inadequacy,” Pope Francis said.
The Pope also added that “human reassurance is not enough” and that what is needed is “the closeness of God and the certainty of his forgiveness, which alone eliminates evil, disarms resentment and restores peace to our hearts.”
People alone, he said, cannot resolve “the contradictions of history” or those of the human heart, so they need the “wisdom and gentle power of God”.
“In union with the bishops and the faithful of the world,” Francis wished to “bring all that we are presently experiencing to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I wish to renew to her the consecration of the Church and the whole of humanity, and to consecrate to her in a particular way the Ukrainian people and the Russian people who, with filial affection, venerate her as a Mother.”
In the Act of Consecration, Francis warned against the disregard of “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”.
The Pope also considered that men have forgotten “the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century”. “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 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!”, declared Pope Francis and Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, in front of the statue of Our Lady, to whom they entrusted the faculty to “untie the knots of our hearts and of our times.”
“Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.
In Cova da Iria, the consecration celebration was introduced by the president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference and bishop of Leiria-Fatima, José Ornelas, who affirmed the Portuguese prelate’s union with the gesture requested by the Holy Father last March 15. “In communion with the Holy Father Francis, we are gathered in this place where the Heavenly Mother invites us to conversion, to pray for peace and reveals to us Her Immaculate Heart as a refuge and path to God […]. United to the Ukrainian people, who during these days receive the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and in this dark hour of the history of the world, let us allow ourselves to be attracted by the light that radiates from her Immaculate Heart, and let us pray that she may hear our prayer and obtain for us from the merciful heart of our God the gift of peace and harmony,” Bishop Carvalho exhorted.