Archbishop George J. Lucas prays an Act of Consecration at the end of Mass March 25 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha. MIKE MAY/STAFF

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Archbishop consecrates Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Archbishop George J. Lucas joined Pope Francis, bishops and priests around the world in consecrating Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.

The consecration, which followed the 11:15 a.m. Mass at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha before a near-capacity gathering of the faithful, was timed to coincide with the pope’s act of consecration in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The pope called for the consecration seeking the intercession of the Blessed Mother for an end to the war in Ukraine, which began Feb. 24 and has already resulted in thousands of deaths.

In the pope’s letter to the world’s bishops requesting their participation he decried the “immense suffering” the war has caused the people of Ukraine, saying the war is “threatening world peace.”

The pope also wrote: “This Act of Consecration is meant to be a gesture of the universal Church, which in this dramatic moment lifts up to God, through His Mother and ours, the cry of pain of all those who suffer and implore an end to the violence, and to entrust the future of our human family to the Queen of Peace.”

“It was a privilege to join Pope Francis and bishops around the world in the prayer of consecration,” said Archbishop Lucas. “Many of the people I greeted after the Mass at St. Cecilia Cathedral were clearly moved by being part of a worldwide cry for divine assistance, through the intercession of Mary, for peace in this dangerous time.”

The consecration harkens back to the messages of Our Lady when she appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Among her messages, coming amid World War I and the rise of Soviet communism in Russia, she said she would ask for the consecration of Russia to her immaculate heart.

She told the children: “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, and various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

Over the years, several popes have performed a consecration, although controversy has remained as to whether a valid consecration was offered according to the form the Blessed Mother called for.

 

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