Bishops Await Vatican Instruction for Consecration of Russia and Ukraine

Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation.

Pope Francis walks past a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, Portugal. AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino.

Bishops from all over the world are invited to join them, but some have said The pillar they don’t know what participation should really entail. A papal representative assured the U.S. bishops on Thursday that instructions would be forthcoming and liturgical arrangements would be made ahead of the consecration date.

The consecration comes as Russia continues to attack Ukraine. It will take place on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the consecration of the world and of Russia to the Immaculate Heart by Pope John Paul II.

Visionaries who saw an apparition of Mary at Fatima, Portugal in 1917 say the consecration of Russia was requested by the Blessed Virgin Mary, who asked “the Holy Father to do, in union with all bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart.

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The pillar contacted dioceses across the country this week to ask if their local bishops would participate in the consecration.

About sixty dioceses and archdioceses indicated The pillar they plan to participate. But many said they still don’t know exactly what it means to participate in the Pope’s consecration.

“I certainly agree that ardent prayers are necessary. I have not seen the format to be used by the Holy Father and without this format I do not know how or when (other than March 25) to join him,” Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa said. The pillar.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Owensboro said the significance of participating in the consecration was unclear. She added, “We definitely support what Pope Francis is doing and have called on people to hold Russia and Ukraine in prayer.”

Several bishops issued statements of “solidarity” or “support” for the papal consecration, but refrained from saying they planned to consecrate Russia in union with the pope.

“I join in solidarity with our Holy Father, Pope Francis, as he consecrates Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during a penitential prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica on March 25” , said Bishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville. The pillar.

“I will say Mass in one of our Catholic schools on the morning of March 25 and I will recognize this action of our Holy Father by remembering the people of Ukraine and our deep desire for peace for all.”

“I will join the Holy Father in prayer on that day and I encourage the priests and faithful of the Archdiocese to also pray in support of his intentions,” Bishop Samuel Aquila of Denver said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Wilmington said the diocese “plans to participate [but] We don’t know in what form. We are awaiting guidance from the USCCB.

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The USCCB itself did not respond to The pillarrequest for comment.

But the pope’s representative in the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, said in a letter Thursday that details for bishops to participate in the consecration will be available soon.

In a March 17 letter to Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Episcopal Conference, Peter said Pope Francis invites all bishops nationwide to participate in the consecration.

Peter’s letter requested that the bishops join the consecration at 5 p.m. Rome time, if possible — noon on the US East Coast, 9 a.m. in California.

The nuncio added that an official dedicatory prayer would be issued in the coming days.

Prior to consecration, some Catholics have expressed concern over the development of a formula that recognizes the unity of the consecratory action of bishops with that of the pope, because, they say, this is essential for a faithful response. at Mary’s insistence at the Fatima apparition that the Pope and the World College of Bishops participate in the consecration.

Some Catholics with a devotion to the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima have long raised objections to earlier papal responses to Russia’s request for consecration, and criticized the 1984 act of consecration performed by Pope Saint John Paul II. , claiming that he did not sufficiently adhere to their understanding of Mary’s request.

The Vatican has not indicated that Pope Francis’ plans for March 25 address these criticisms. Instead, the Latin Catholic bishops of Ukraine asked Pope Francis in early March to “perform publicly the act of consecration to the Sacred Immaculate Heart of Mary of Ukraine and Russia, as requested by the Blessed Virgin at Fatima”.

There is a long-standing devotional custom in the Catholic Church of consecrating, or entrusting, individuals and nations to Jesus through the intercessory prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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