During Mass shortly after midday on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz prayed the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, joining the pope and his brother bishops worldwide in consecrating the church and all of humanity to the Blessed Mother.
Earlier in the week, Pope Francis sent the prayer to bishops throughout the world asking that they join him in consecrating “ourselves, the church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine,” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, according to Catholic News Service.
Pope Francis led the prayer in St. Peter’s Basilica during a Lenten penance service in Rome.
During his homily, Archbishop Kurtz shared with the congregation that in 2015, when he was the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, it was “my sad privilege to visit many places where there was a lot of suffering,” he said. Among them were the cities of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and Kharkiv, where he visited refugees fleeing conflict in Crimea.
The archbishop noted that on the feast of the Annunciation, March 25, “we commemorate that first moment of conception of Jesus Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he said.
It was the day, he said, that the “Lord was being announced to the world, a world that is imperfect, sinful, violent and in need of redemption.”
Archbishop Kurtz said that the Virgin Mary gave a “wonderful yes,” a “fiat,” when she responded, “Let it be done according to your will.”
“As we pray that fiat for people suffering, we pray that we may consecrate ourselves and the people of Ukraine and Russia to the Blessed Virgin Mary” who always leads to Jesus Christ, he said.
Archbishop Kurtz also told his listeners that God’s will should not be used for evil.
“The will of God is for us to walk with people who are suffering. The will of God is for us to seek ways in which we may bring about lasting peace,” he said. “This will ask for us to reach out in any way we can” to help the victims of the war in Ukraine.
Archbishop Kurtz urged people to pray to be filled with faith and hope, as well as for the resolution to stand up for freedom. He urged them also to pray that peace may be restored to Ukraine and that the “building of justice is something you and I will have a hand in.”