When Pope Francis consecrates Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary next Friday, the prayers of the faithful in Vancouver will be with him.
Archbishop J. Michael will celebrate Mass on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, “uniting the people of God in the Archdiocese of Vancouver with the Holy Father in consecration,” he said Thursday.
Mass will be held at 12:10 p.m. at Saint-Rosaire Cathedral.
Announcing the Mass, the Archbishop said, “May this consecration bring the grace of peace to all who suffer the devastating effects of war.”
Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during a penitential celebration over which he will preside at 5 p.m. Rome time, 9 a.m. Vancouver time on Friday, March 25, in St. Rock. The ceremony will be broadcast live.
Bishop Miller is also asking parishes to hold a public prayer service over the coming weeks of Lent for peace in Ukraine. A note to priests said the service “may take the form of a Holy Hour, the prayer of the Holy Rosary or the Stations of the Cross. Another suggestion is that a day of fasting may be offered on the day of the service of prayer, or any day of the week.
In preparation for the Pope’s consecration, the Archbishop and the Catholic Bishops of Canada also invite the faithful and all people of good will to join in a novena starting March 17 for peace and the people of Ukraine.
In a statement, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said, “Pope Francis wishes to place the peoples of Ukraine and Russia under the protection of Mary, the Mother of God, through a special liturgical act. To this end, he will consecrate the two countries to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a penitential celebration.
The consecration is welcomed by Catholic bishops in Ukraine and by Russian bishops, the CCCB said, adding that Ukrainian Catholic leaders are preparing for the novena and “they hope that all Catholic faithful around the world will join them “.
The Canadian bishops declared: “Faced with this call, the Catholic bishops of Canada, united with the Holy Father, invite their faithful and all people of good will to participate in the novena with the following prayer:
God of peace and justice,
we pray for the people of Ukraine today.
We pray for peace and the laying down of arms.
We pray for all who fear for tomorrow,
let your Spirit of consolation draw near to them.
We pray for those who have power over war or peace,
wisdom, discernment and compassion to guide their decisions.
Above all, we pray for all your precious children, at risk and in fear,
that you would like to hold and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Реасе.
The novena was initiated by Catholics in Ukraine and first requested by the Latin Rite Archbishop of Lviv, Bishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki. The date of the consecration is historically significant, since Saint John Paul II consecrated Russia and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984.
The novena will end on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, when Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Vatican.
It was Ukrainian Catholic leaders who urged Pope Francis to make the dramatic decision to consecrate both Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Bishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki of Lviv, Ukraine said, “For this (consecration) ceremony, we want to prepare our people with a novena that will start on March 17,” he added. “We call on all Christians in Ukraine to join this novena, and we would be very grateful if the whole Church around the world would join us in prayer for this intention.”
Archbishop Mokrzycki in the interview seemed to be trying to carefully navigate the decades-long controversy over the validity of Pope John Paul II’s 1987 consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, saying he believed it had been done correctly but would be worth repeating to secure peace again, after the last outbreak of war.
Archbishop Mokrzycki’s conversation with CNA – and another interview he gave earlier today to a Ukrainian journalist working for St. Rita Radio, an EWTN-affiliated radio station in Norway – shed light on what has led to the surprising decision of Pope Francis, which is closely linked to the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.
“During this painful and difficult war situation, we continued to pray, to celebrate the Holy Mass, to adore the Blessed Sacrament, to fast and to offer our sufferings imploring the mercy of God. We have been joined by the whole world in this, but we see that the war continues,” Bishop Mokrzycki told CNA in a telephone interview, speaking in Italian.
“We therefore recalled Our Lady of Fatima, who in 1917 said that the end of the war would come if the Holy Father and the bishops consecrated Russia to her Immaculate Heart, offered the first Saturdays of each month and recited the Holy Rosary. We therefore asked the Holy Father to respond to this request again,” he explained.
“It was our desire, it was the voice of the whole Ukrainian people,” Bishop Mokrzycki said in his interview with St. Rita Radio. “We as bishops of the Latin rite, in our episcopal conference, we went to see the Holy Father, we sent him a letter with this cry because we still have hope that this war can end soon” .
“We believe that this act will be listened to by Our Lady and that she will intercede before God for peace in Ukraine,” he told CNA.
“Someone told me that Pope John Paul II had already entrusted Russia and the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and it’s true,” he said.
“But Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 said that the consecration would be followed by a time of peace. This time of peace is now over, so we must repeat the act of consecration of Russia and Ukraine,” he said.
“All the Catholic bishops of Ukraine, both Latin Rite and Greek Catholic, will join the Holy Father in this act of consecration, celebrating it at the same time in our cathedrals and churches. And we hope that we will be joined by many of our brother bishops around the world,” the Archbishop said.
A Catholic archbishop from Moscow welcomed the consecration “with great joy and gratitude”.
Speaking by phone at a meeting in Siberia of the Russian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Paolo Pezzi expressed hope in the power of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercessory prayer to “stop the shedding of blood “.
“Fatima has a special connection, at least as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, with Russia and also with all the conflicts that take place in the world,” Archbishop Pezzi said, according to the Italian Bishops’ News Agency, SIR.
He added: “Certainly, the symbolic meaning of this consecration comes from the fact that at this moment, unfortunately, there is an open conflict in Ukraine and what is asked above all is that we can stop the outpouring of blood”.
Bishop Pezzi has led the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow for the past 14 years and obtained Russian citizenship in 2011.
On the same day, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski will also preside over an act of consecration in Fatima, Portugal. Cardinal Krajewski was one of two papal envoys sent to Ukraine last week to express the pope’s concern for the country’s beleaguered population.
A special statue of Our Lady of Fatima has arrived in Ukraine, ahead of Pope Francis’ consecration.
The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in Lviv announced on Facebook on Wednesday: “The Sanctuary Center of Fatima (Portugal) provides us with an official copy of the Statue of the Mother of God of Fatima, to ask God for protection and peace in Ukraine and in the world in his presence.
The church will house the statue from March 17 to April 15, the post says. After leaving Portugal, the statue traveled to Krakow, Poland, before continuing to Lviv.
The statue comes at the request of Archbishop Ihor Vozniak of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. It is one of 13 official copies of the Our Lady of Fatima statue that travel the world. Sculpted in 1920, sculptor José Ferreira Tedin created the original statue with the help of Sister Lucia, one of three children during the Marian apparitions at Fatima in 1917.
With files from the Catholic News Agency