Pope Francis has invited Catholics from around the world to join him in consecrating Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Friday, March 25.
A prayer of consecration will be said by the Pope in St. Peter’s Basilica during a penitential celebration at approximately 6:30 p.m. in Rome (1:30 p.m. EST) on Friday, March 25, the feast of the Annunciation. On the same day, the same act of consecration will be performed by priests and bishops from around the world, notably also in Fatima, by the Pope’s representative.
The consecration is a plea for peace, bringing to God “the cry of pain of all those who suffer” and entrusting “the future of humanity to the Queen of Peace,” explained the Holy Father.
The Pope also invited bishops to “call priests, religious and other faithful to community prayer in sacred places on Friday, March 25, so that the holy People of God may raise their petitions to their Mother.” Already on March 13, after the Angelus, he declared: “I ask all diocesan and religious communities to multiply the moments of prayer for peace.”
The faithful are therefore invited, this Friday, to associate themselves spiritually with the consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by reciting the official prayer to be used during that day, by going to Mass, by taking time for personal prayer, or by participating in other initiatives set up in the dioceses. The Pope also thanks all those who respond to his calls “to prayer, to fasting, to charity.”
1Participate in Holy Mass
In most dioceses, the bishop will preside this Friday at a Mass said in union with Pope Francis. Some, such as in Sydney Australia, will be waking up or staying up to the wee hours, to do the consecration at the same time as the Pope. In Washington, DC, Cardinal Wilton Gregory will celebrate a noon Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Cardinal Gregory’s Mass at the National Shrine is open to the public. Archbishop Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, noted that an invitation to attend has also been extended to federal authorities and the diplomatic corps serving in Washington, D.C. Check your local diocesan website or newspaper for information from your diocese; those of the US are compiled here, but confirm with local web site.
2Recite the prayer of consecration
If you are unable to attend Mass, you can join the Pope and all the priests in a time of personal prayer during which you can pray the text of the act of consecration, available here.
3Take part in a communal prayer initiative
Some parishes will recite the Rosary – the Marian prayer par excellence – in favor of peace, before Mass and the prayer of consecration. Other parishes have organized special vigils dedicated to prayer for peace. Finally, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed in some churches for Eucharistic adoration. This beautiful devotion offers a way to contemplate the love of Jesus Christ who offered himself for mankind and to find the strength of faith in the midst of combat.
Already on February 23, the day before the Russian offensive in Ukraine, Pope Francis had called believers and non-believers to participate in a Day of Fasting for Peace in Ukraine, on the occasion of Ash Wednesday. “To the diabolical absurdity of violence, we respond with the weapons of God, with prayer and fasting,” he said. In view of the consecration of Russia and Ukraine, Bishop Nicolas Brouwet of Nîmes, France, reminds us of the power of fasting: “It reminds us that, alone, left to our poor strength, we can do nothing. Especially in the face of the armed forces and the pride of those who want this conflict. Fasting makes us aware that we need to be nourished by the Word of God, sustained by his grace, surrendered to the Holy Spirit, the Father of the poor.”
5Pilgrimages and Processions
Some people pray better by walking! Why not make a pilgrimage to pray in communion with the Pope? The Diocese of Blois in France is proposing a pilgrimage at 5:00 p.m. from Saint-Louis Cathedral to the shrine of Notre-Dame des Aydes at Saint-Saturnin Church in Vienne.
6Livestream the Act of Consecration from Rome
The penitential celebration and the consecration presided over by Pope Francis in Rome will be broadcast live on Aleteia on Friday, beginning at noon, EST. Tuning in to this livestream will be a beautiful way to unite with the whole Church if you can’t travel.
7Do an act of charity
The Pope continues to reiterate his call to charity. Everyone can accompany his prayer with a concrete gesture for the Ukrainian people, mindful that our own conversion of heart is what Our Lady most requested in Fatima.