VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While Pope Francis and bishops around the world will consecrate themselves and all humanity to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, they will include the phrase, “especially Russia and Ukraine.”
In the text of the pope’s prayer sent to chanceries around the globe so that bishops can join the pope March 25, a key passage for many observers reads: “Mother of God and our mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine.”
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and responding to a request particularly from Ukrainian bishops, Pope Francis had announced that he would make the act of consecration during a previously scheduled Lenten penance service in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, will lead the act of consecration at the same time at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. When Mary appeared to three shepherd children at Fatima in 1917 with a message encouraging prayer and repentance, she also asked for the consecration of Russia to Mary’s immaculate heart.
While popes, especially St. John Paul II in 1984, made acts of consecration, they did not mention “Russia” out loud, which led some people to think that the Fatima request had not been fulfilled, even though the last surviving visionary, Sister Lucia dos Santos, said St. John Paul had done so.
The papal text pleads with Mary to “accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end, and peace spread throughout the world.”
By saying “yes” to God’s plan — an event remembered on the March 25 feast of the Annunciation — Mary “opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace,” the prayer says. “We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more.”
“To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world,” the prayer says.
Written with the penance service and the Fatima call to repentance in mind, the pope began the prayer with a statement of trust in Mary’s maternal love for all believers.
“You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the prince of peace,” the prayer says. “Yet we have strayed from that path of peace.”
Read the full text of Pope Francis’ Consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary