Friday’s consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary took place during a penitential service led by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Mary.
“In union with all bishops and the faithful of the world, I desire in a solemn way to bring all that we are presently experiencing to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” the Pope said in his homily for the occasion.
“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.”
This is, of course, Pope Francis realizing the importance and necessity for prayer in this situation and, in particular, the importance of the intercession of Mary. It is significant of the Pope calling on all bishops to participate in the act of consecration, especially noting the inclusion of the Orthodox Churches.
Both Catholics and Orthodox know the power of Marian devotion and know that both Russia and Ukraine have been centres of Marian devotion for a thousand years, This will be an extremely powerful, spiritual sign. As much as the world has been united in a secular sense by what Russia has done, this is a sign of spiritual unity that’s going to help orient the world correctly in response to this situation.”
The history of the consecration of Russia has connections to the 1917 Marian apparitions in Fátima to three Portuguese children, during which Our Lady called for Russia to be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart amid the looming threat of global war.
According to Sister Lucia, the only Fátima visionary to live to adulthood, Mary said: “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.”