Tuesday, 22 March 2022 15:07

Pope Francis to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

ourladyoffatima02 350This Friday 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (5:00 pm Rome time). This follows several similar papal consecrations made in response to the requests of Our Lady of Fatima.

The Pope has invited all the bishops of the world, with their priests, to unite with him in this act. Cardinal Krajewski, as envoy of the Pope, will bring the consecration to Fatima itself; and at Sunday’s Angelus, Pope Francis also invited ‘every community and all the faithful to unite with me…for the Solemn Act of Consecration of humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that she, the Queen of Peace, may help us obtain peace.’

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said, ‘Acting as the Universal Pastor of the Church, Pope Francis will renew the consecration urged at Fatima more than 100 years ago. The bishops of Australia are united with the Holy Father as he leads the faithful around the world in this act of consecration and we invite all people to join us in praying for peace in Ukraine. We urge people to spend part of their day on March 25 in prayer – attending Mass, praying with family or friends, in silent prayer at a local parish or chapel or in whatever way you can.’ (Media Release, 18/03/22)

Legionaries will especially wish to respond to this call of the Pope and the bishops, and also to be praying special prayers even in these days leading up – for peace, and for the maximum fruitfulness of the Consecration.

Mary told the three children of Fatima on 13 July 1917: ‘I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. 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.’ (Second Secret)

The errors of Russia, and its need for consecration and conversion, relate primarily to communism, which came to power in Russia on 7 November 1917 (only 25 days after the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima decisively proved before 70,000 witnesses the truth of Mary’s appearances).

On 13 June 1929, Our Lady appeared to the surviving seer, Sr Lucia, at her convent at Tuy in Spain, and made explicit the request for consecration already forespoken in 1917: ‘The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.’ Sr Lucia kept insisting on this request to the popes and the hierarchy over several decades.

In response, there were the consecrations of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Pope Pius XII (1942), by Pope St Paul VI (1964), by Pope St John Paul II (1982, 1984 and 2000) and by Pope Francis (13 October 2013); and Pius XII’s special consecration of Russia by name (7 July 1952).

Most of these consecrations, while of course not fruitless, were made only by the Pope, without the participation of the bishops of the world that Mary had asked for. But St John Paul made a point of inviting all the bishops to join his Consecration of 25 March 1984, and Sr Lucia (who kept receiving heavenly communications throughout her life) later confirmed that this Consecration had at last fulfilled Our Lady’s wishes, and was accepted by heaven.

Perhaps for diplomatic and ecumenical reasons, in the 1984 Consecration, Russia was alluded to but not explicitly named. Sr Lucia explained: ‘God knew that the Pope’s intention was Russia…What is important is the intention, like when a priest has the intention to consecrate a Host. Our Lady never requested that Russia be specifically mentioned by name.’ Nevertheless, some critics continued to maintain that Mary’s requests had still never been fulfilled. Hopefully this Friday’s event will at last put an end to such disputes.

Within a year of the 1984 Consecration, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union. The peaceful collapse of communism in Eastern Europe followed in 1989 to the world’s astonishment; and on Christmas Day 1991, exactly 9 months and 7 years from the Consecration, the Soviet flag was lowered over the Kremlin for the last time, with the Soviet Union subsequently ceasing to exist. (It was in this context that Ukraine and other former Soviet republics gained their independence.)

This astounding event was surely the primary ‘conversion of Russia’ as promised by Our Lady, and the promised ‘period of peace’ was indeed also granted to the world, with the great reduction at that time in the danger of nuclear war and in the propagation of communism. The period of general peace that began in those times may now seem to be threatening to end, but we have faith that the power of prayer, and in particular this renewed Consecration by Pope Francis and the bishops, can even change the world.

Notable in the story of Fatima have been various coincidences of dates in which God’s hand can be discerned. So a final interesting observation: Vladimir Putin was born on 7 October 1952, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, exactly three months after Pius XII consecrated Russia by name. Perhaps we can take this as a small sign of hope that Mary’s prayers could even be destined to obtain his conversion from the path of war. ‘With God nothing will be impossible.’ (Lk 1:37)


by Fr Justin Ford