On March 25, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to renew their act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by praying the rosary. The solemnity of the Annunciation, which will be held on Saturday, will mark one year since Pope Francis devoted Russia and Ukraine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in St. Peter's Basilica with a prayer calling for peace throughout the globe.
Invitation to Catholics
The Tablet reported that the Pope recalled his historic act of consecration at the end of his general audience on March 22. He also called parishes and prayer groups to renew the Marian consecration yearly. In a separate appeal, Pope Francis urged Christians to remember to pray for "martyred Ukraine, which is suffering so much."
"Saturday will celebrate the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, and our minds turn to March 25 of last year, when we devoted the Church and mankind, notably Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary," Pope Francis remarked. In addition, he advised against growing weary of leaving the cause of peace to the Queen of Peace.
As mentioned, one month after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Pope Francis requested the world's bishops to join him in consecrating Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In 2022, The Vatican News reported that Pope Francis performed a ceremony to consecrate all of humanity, particularly Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He explained that the act expresses their complete trust in the Virgin Mary amid the "cruel and senseless war" that is taking place in Ukraine.
At the same time that Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner, offered the same prayer at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, he prayed the act in communion with all of the Catholic Bishops from around the world. Pope John XXIII renewed the consecration following a request made by the Blessed Lady Mary during an apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917. It was reportedly done in response to the conflict in Ukraine.
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Consecration to Immaculate Heart of Mary
According to the Catholic News Agency, as a symbol of Mary's perfect will, articulated in her "fiat," the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a popular focus of devotion among Catholics. The heart of Mary is typically represented as having seven wounds and being pierced by a sword. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux illustrated the early love of the nature of Mary, while the modern devotion was developed by Saint John Eudes, a French priest who lived during the 17th century.
Eudes is credited with initiating the celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which began to gain papal approval at the beginning of the 19th century. The festival was added to the General Roman Calendar in 1944 and was designated to be celebrated on August 22, the octave day of the Assumption.
In addition, "consecration" refers to setting something apart for sacred use. It is common practice to interchange the meanings of "entrustment" and "consecration."
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