Pope Francis asks all Catholics to take part in consecration of Russia, Ukraine to Immaculate Heart of Mary

Pope Francis at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal on May 12, 2017. Pope Francis at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal on May 12, 2017. | LUSA Press Agency.

Pope Francis has written a letter asking all Catholics to assemble in their parishes on Friday to pray the act of consecration of the world, particularly Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Vatican published the pope’s letter two days before he is scheduled to pray the Marian consecration in St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday, March 25, in union with bishops around the world.

“I ask you to join in this act by inviting the priests, religious and faithful to assemble in their churches and places of prayer on March 25, so that God’s Holy People may raise a heartfelt and choral plea to Mary our Mother,” Pope Francis said in the letter sent to all the world’s bishops.

Pope Francis also included the text of the consecration prayer with his letter so that all Catholics can pray it together in union on the Solemnity of the Annunciation.

“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,” the pope said.

The pope will pray the consecration during a penitential service which he will preside over in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5 p.m. local time.

In the letter, signed on March 21, he said that he wanted to entrust the nations at war to the Blessed Virgin Mary in response to the “numerous requests from the People of God.”

“Nearly a month has passed since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine that is daily inflicting immense suffering upon its sorely tried people and threatening world peace,” Pope Francis said.

“At this dark hour, the Church is urgently called to intercede before the Prince of Peace and to demonstrate her closeness to those directly affected by the conflict.”

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