Bishop Kettler to join pope in consecrating Ukraine, Russia to Mary

St. Cloud Bishop Donald Kettler will join Pope Francis Friday, March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, in consecrating Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Bishop Kettler will celebrate the noon Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary in St. Cloud. The cathedral will livestream the Mass on its Facebook page.

In a letter to priests of the diocese March 18, the bishop invited them to join him by celebrating at least one Mass that day that includes the prayer of consecration at a church within their Area Catholic Community.

Pope Francis will carry out the consecration during a service scheduled to begin at St. Peter’s Basilica at 5 p.m. Rome time (11 a.m. central time). People of the diocese are invited to attend one of the ACC Masses or the Mass at the cathedral.

Pope Francis prays in front of the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima during a Marian vigil in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in this Oct. 12, 2013, file photo. The pope has invited the bishops of the world to join him in “consecrating and entrusting” Russia and Ukraine to Mary March 25. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“Pope Francis has invited the bishops of the whole world, along with their priests, to join him in the prayer for peace and in the consecration and entrustment of Russia and of Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said March 18.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, will lead a similar act of consecration at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.

When Mary appeared to three shepherd children at Fatima in 1917 with a message encouraging prayer and repentance, she also asked for the consecration of Russia.

The Eastern- and Latin-rite Catholic bishops of Ukraine had been asking Pope Francis for the consecration.

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, head of the Eastern-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church, said March 16, “Ukrainian Catholics have been asking for this act since the beginning of Russian aggression in 2014 (in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine) as urgently needed to avoid the worsening of the war and the dangers coming from Russia.”

“With the invasion of Russia on a massive scale,” in late February, he said, “prayers to do this came from all parts of the world from our faithful.”

The Central Minnesota Catholic contributed to this story.

Author: Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ news and information service.

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