In the years following the revelation of the secret, there was some controversy as to whether various consecrations of Russia performed by subsequent popes fulfilled the requirements set forth by Mary.
But in a letter written in 1989, Sister Lucia confirmed that Pope St. John Paul II satisfied Mary’s request for Russia's consecration in 1984. At the time, Ukraine and Russia were both part of the Soviet Union.
Other authorities, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also have affirmed the consecration was completed to Sister Lucia's satisfaction.
Donovan said that both St. John Paul II "and the mystic, Sister Lucia, were at first uncertain because he hadn't mentioned Russia by name but by allusion ... however, she did confirm it with Our Lady, who said that yes, God had accepted it and he would keep his promise." He added that Sister Lucia confirmed multiple times, including in person, that Our Lady's request had been satisfied.
What is the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is an object of devotion, as it symbolizes her perfect will as expressed in her 'fiat'. Mary's heart is generally depicted with seven wounds and pierced by a sword. Early devotion to the heart of Mary was exemplified by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, but the modern devotion was founded by Saint John Eudes, a French priest of the 17th century.
The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was first observed by Eudes, and it began receiving papal approbation at the opening of the 19th century. The feast was placed on the General Roman Calendar in 1944, to be observed Aug. 22, the Octave Day of the Assumption.
Ukraine’s Latin Rite Catholic bishops requested that Pope Francis do the consecration, amid the invasion of their country.
Ukraine’s Latin Rite Catholic bishops— meaning the bishops who lead the country’s Roman Catholics— sent a letter to Pope Francis on March 2 asking him to “publicly perform the act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Ukraine and Russia, as requested by the Blessed Virgin in Fatima.”
Why consecrate Ukraine and Russia now?
Donovan said that "consecration is always a good thing," and that the ongoing war is "a context which is sufficient in and of itself" to warrant consecration.
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Why on March 25?
The feast of the Annunciation is a prominent Marian feast, and, Donovan noted, the day especially recommended by Saint Louis de Montfort for personal consecration to Our Lady.
"All of Our Lady's prerogatives come from the fact that from all eternity, God chose her to be the mother of the Word made flesh; that is the that is the central Marian dogma of the Church," Donovan said, "so that is, I think that's the perfect day. And John Paul chose to do it on that day, and I think that's a good day for anyone to make their personal consecration, or for Pope Francis to do this one."
Russia has been consecrated before. So has the whole world, actually.
In the past, several popes have consecrated the entire Church and world to Mary.
Pope Pius XII consecrated the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Oct. 31, 1942, and Pope St. John Paul II renewed that consecration on May 13, 1982, again on March 25, 1984, and once more on Oct. 8, 2000.