Irish bishops will join Pope Francis in the Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this Friday, 25 March, during the Celebration of Penance that he will preside over at 5pm in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The sacred act of Consecration will be performed in communion with the local Churches throughout the world and will take place on the Feast of the Annunciation.
The Consecration will also be performed at Ireland’s national Marian and Eucharistic shrine of Knock, during Friday’s 7.30pm evening Mass.
While Pope Francis and bishops around the world will consecrate themselves and all humanity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, they will include the specific phrase, “especially Russia and Ukraine”.
One original criticism of the recent announcement that Russia would be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was that it did not include all of the bishops of the world joining Pope Francis in the Consecration. However, a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States has stated that Pope Francis has invited all the bishops of the world to join him this Friday.
Irish bishops have responded to an appeal to join the Consecration by confirming that they will do so on Friday. The confirmation came in the form of a tweet by the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin.
Looking forward to joining Pope Francis in his consecration of #Russia and #Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Friday 25 March #FeastOfAnnunciation In preparation please pray over these nine days 17-25 March for #PeaceForUkraine and in the world pic.twitter.com/YLDAAN4Ydl
— Eamon Martin (@ArchbishopEamon) March 17, 2022
Archbishop Martin also said the Consecration represented a “powerful global act of prayerful solidarity for peace in the world, & especially between Russia and Ukraine.”
Pope Francis will unite us in prayer for #peace in our Cathedrals, Marian sanctuaries and parish communities on 25 March Feast of #Annunciation – a powerful global act of prayerful solidarity for peace in the world, & especially between Russia and Ukraine. #PeaceInUkraine pic.twitter.com/UmLbPOpxM2
— Eamon Martin (@ArchbishopEamon) March 18, 2022
The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship defines consecration to Mary as an overt recognition of the “singular role of Mary in the Mystery of Christ and of the Church, of the universal and exemplary importance of her witness to the Gospel, of trust in her intercession, and of the efficacy of her patronage.”
Pope St. John Paul II – who consecrated the entire Church and world to Mary three times during his pontificate – taught that by consecrating oneself to Mary, we accept her help in offering ourselves fully to Christ. Speaking to CNA, Colin Donovan, vice president for theology at Catholic news network EWTN, said that consecration “is an entrustment and also an appeal to God. The entrustment here is the fact that we lay ourselves, our hearts, our prayers, our desires at the feet of Our Lady, and that serves God’s purposes because it elevates Our Lady in the mind of the Church, and hopefully in the mind in the world. And it’s an appeal to God for our particular needs.”
In the Church-approved apparitions of Fatima, Mary specifically requested that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. The apparitions which took place at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 are some of the world’s most famous Marian Apparitions.
Sister Lucia, one of the three Fatima seers, who died in 2005 at the age of 97, said that Mary told her:“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.
“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”.
Last week, the Marian Shrine sent a pilgrim statue of Our Lady to the Ukrainian city of Lviv, in response to a request of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. The shrine has several pilgrim statues, which are replicas of the original which stands in the Chapel of the Apparitions and that was made according to the instructions of Sister Lucia. The request was made by the Archbishop Ihor Vozniak of Lviv, so that “we can pray, asking for her protection and for peace to return to our country”.