Speaking during his weekly General Audience in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday, Pope Francis urged believers to renew the consecration of humanity - especially Russia and Ukraine - to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Holy Father’s appeal came almost a year after he first prayed the Act of Consecration, at the annual “24 Hours for the Lord” Lenten penitential service in the Vatican on the 25th March 2022.
“An act of complete trust”
Pope Francis’ initial consecration of Russia and Ukraine to Mary’s Immaculate Heart was a response, he said, to the war between the two countries.
“This is no magic formula,” he explained at the time, “but a spiritual act. It is an act of complete trust on the part of children who, amid the tribulation of this cruel and senseless war that threatens our world, turn to their Mother, reposing all their fears and pain in her heart and abandoning themselves to her.”
A renewed appeal
This Wednesday, the Pope said that “My thoughts go to the 25th March of last year, when, in union with all the bishops of the world, I consecrated the Church and humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
“Let us not tire of consecrating the cause of peace to the Queen of Peace,” he continued. “I would like to invite every believer and community, especially prayer groups, to renew the Act of Consecration to Our Lady every 25th March, so that she, who is Mother, might preserve us all in unity and peace.”
The Pope ended his appeal by remembering "tormented Ukraine", as he has at almost every General Audience since the outbreak of war, and urged his listeners never to forget the country, which, he said, “is suffering very greatly.”