In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Pope Francis has asked bishops around the world to join him March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, in consecrating “ourselves, the church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine,” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Prayer of Consecration was sent to bishops throughout the world early this week.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz has invited priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful to join him in praying the act of consecration at about noon EDT on March 25. He will celebrate a noon Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth St., where he will pray the Holy Father’s prayer of consecration (the prayer appears below).
Pope Francis will lead the prayer in St. Peter’s Basilica during a Lenten penance service at 5 p.m. Rome time.
Also on March 25, the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, will lead a similar consecration at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. When Mary appeared to three children at Fatima in 1917, she also asked for the consecration of Russia, a report from Catholic News Service noted.
Archbishop Kurtz said in his March 21 leadership briefing, an email that is sent occasionally to those who subscribe, that he encourages all of the faithful to join him in the prayer of consecration.
He also said he will be forwarding a monetary gift — given to him March 18 by the priests of the Archdiocese of Louisville in honor of his golden jubilee — to aid Ukrainians.
“Given the terrible tragedy and travesty that is occurring at this moment in Ukraine, I have decided to give this gift from my brother priests as a donation to Catholic Relief Services for humanitarian efforts in assisting those in Ukraine, as well as those who have fled the country,” he wrote.
Archbishop Kurtz visited Ukraine in 2015 as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The pastoral visit at the time came on the heels of the Russian invasion of Crimea and a special collection for the region.
“I recall visiting so many in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv. This included meeting with refugees from Crimea in Kyiv and visiting a refugee camp in Kharkiv,” he wrote.
“The destruction I witnessed seven years ago pales in comparison with the present destruction, deaths and number of refugees that our world now witnesses,” Archbishop Kurtz added. “May our prayers and action for the people of Ukraine, as well as all who suffer throughout the world, be an occasion for us to deepen our reliance on Christ Jesus and our desire to be His living presence for others.”