Rome Newsroom, Mar 16, 2022 / 03:50 am (CNA).
Ukrainians are grateful that Pope Francis will consecrate Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said on Wednesday.
“This is a spiritual act long awaited by the Ukrainian people. Ukrainian Catholics since the beginning of Russian aggression in 2014 have been asking for this act as an urgent need to prevent the worsening of the war and the dangers coming from Russia,” Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said on March 16.
On Tuesday, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will consecrate the two countries to the Blessed Virgin Mary during a penance service on March 25 in St. Peter’s Basilica.
At the same time, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the pope’s almoner, will be in Fatima, Portugal, to carry out the same act, it said.
“In the midst of the tragedy of the bloody war in Ukraine, we looked forward with hope to the news” of the consecration, Shevchuk said.
He noted that during his meetings with Pope Francis over the past years, he had conveyed the Ukrainian people’s wish for the Marian consecration to take place.
“With the invasion of Russia on a large scale, prayers for this act were received from our faithful from all parts of the world,” he said.
“We are grateful to the Holy Father for first of all accepting Our Lady’s request manifested during the apparition of July 13, 1917. in Fatima, and her children, to protect Ukraine and to stop ‘the errors of Russia that promote wars and persecution of the Church,’” the major archbishop said.
“So, today we see the fulfillment of the words of Our Lady who said, ‘The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be destroyed.’”
“Let us entrust to the Immaculate Heart of Mary all our sufferings and hopes for peace in our martyred country,” he concluded.
March 25, when the consecration is due to take place, was the day in 1984 that Pope John Paul II consecrated Russia and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is also the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.
Ukraine and Russia, the two largest countries in Europe by area, are both predominantly Eastern Orthodox countries with deep traditions of Marian devotion.
Yaroslav the Wise, the grand prince of Kyiv, dedicated his lands to Mary in 1037 and she has been known since then as “Queen of Ukraine.” Pope Francis used the title in his Angelus address on March 6, saying: “Let us pray together, as brothers and sisters, to Our Lady, Queen of Ukraine.”
Before the revolutions of 1917 that overthrew the Russian Empire and led to the creation of the Soviet Union, Russia was colloquially known as the “house of Mary” because there were more shrines and churches dedicated to Our Lady than in any other country at the time.
During the Fatima apparitions in 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed three secrets, the second of which was that World War I would end, and a prediction of another war that would start during the reign of Pius XI if people continued to offend God and Russia was not consecrated to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.
In a letter written in 1989, Sister Lucia confirmed that Pope John Paul II satisfied Our Lady’s request for Russia’s consecration in 1984. Other authorities, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also have affirmed the consecration was completed to Sister Lucia’s satisfaction.
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