Ukrainian archbishop calls for worldwide novena ahead of Pope Francis’ consecration of Russia, Ukraine
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Mar 15, 2022 / 17:15 pm
Ukrainian Catholic leaders have been urging Pope Francis to take the dramatic step to consecrate both Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and will lead a nine-day novena to prepare for the March 25 event, a top prelate in the war-ravaged country told CNA Tuesday.
“We are very happy by the fact that the Holy Father responded positively to the request of the Bishops of the Latin Catholic Church, all its priests, and all its people,” said Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki of Lviv, Ukraine.
“For this ceremony we want to prepare our people with a novena that will start on March 17,” he added. “We are calling all Christians in Ukraine to join this novena, and we would be very grateful if the whole Church around the world would join us in prayer for this intention.”
Mokrzycki in the interview also appeared to try to carefully navigate around the decades-long controversy over the validity of St. Pope John Paul II’s 1987 consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, saying he believed it was done properly but that it would be beneficial to repeat in order to secure peace again, after the latest outbreak of war.
The Holy See press office announced March 15 that the pope plans to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25 at 5 p.m. in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. EWTN will broadcast the ceremony live beginning at 12 noon ET.
Mokrzycki’s conversation with CNA — and another interview he gave earlier in the day to a Ukrainian journalist working for St. Rita Radio, an EWTN radio affiliate in Norway — shed light on what led to Pope Francis’ surprising decision, which is closely linked to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. For more about the consecration’s meaning and origins, read CNA’s explainer here.
“During this painful and difficult situation of war, we continued to pray, to celebrate the Holy Mass, to adore the Holy Sacrament, to fast and to offer our sufferings requesting God’s mercy. We were joined by the whole world in this, but we see that the war continues,” Mokrzyck told CNA in a telephone interview, speaking in Italian.
“So we recalled Our Lady of Fatima, who in 1917 said that the end of the war would come if the Holy Father and the bishops consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, offer the first Saturdays of every month and pray the Holy Rosary. So we requested the Holy Father to fulfill that request once again,” he explained.
“This was our desire, this was the voice of all the Ukrainian people,” Mokrzyck said in his interview with St. Rita Radio. “We as Latin rite bishops, in our bishops’ conference, we went to the Holy Father, we addressed him a letter with this cry because we still have the hope that this war may end soon.