London celebrations

London: Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the Ukrainian Cathedral

Bishop Nowakowski reading the act of consecration image ICN/JS

London’s Ukrainian Cathedral was packed this afternoon for a moving prayer service in which the Most Reverend Kenneth Nowakowski, Bishop of the Holy Family Diocese of London for Ukrainian Catholics in Britain, in union with Pope Francis and Catholic bishops from all over the world, consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In his homily, the Archbishop said, “Today, at the call of His Holiness Pope Francis, we consecrate and consecrate Russia and Ukraine under the protection and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We do this by recalling Our Lady’s words and request at Fatima. We do this today even as we celebrate this particular service, the bombs are falling on our beloved Ukraine, killing the Ukrainian people and, of course, we cannot forget the dead – the thousands dead and injured – also experienced by those who fight against Ukraine.

“To consecrate oneself, a people and a nation to someone or to an ideal is indeed an important thing. But by consecrating Russia and Ukraine under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary the Catholic world, all bishops of the world in unison with our Patriarch Sviatoslav in kyiv and our Holy Father Pope Francis do so to ask that not only the hearts of those who commit this war, not only to open the hearts of our leaders who can work to put an end to this war, but also our hearts to open them to conversion. We will read the act of consecration that the Holy Father has written and we will pray at the same time.

“It is impossible for us to expect there to be peace in the world, peace in Ukraine, if there is not peace in our homes, if there is not peace in our streets, in our communities and in our own country, this day and this time of prayer and this dedication be our own consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to ask God to allow us to also be artisans of peace.

The following prayer from the Act of Consecration was read in Ukrainian and English.

O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, in this time of trial we turn to you. As our Mother, you love us and know us: no concern of our heart is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how many times have we known your concern and your peaceful presence! You continue to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Yet we have strayed from this path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions of people who fell in the two world wars. We ignored the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed the peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of young people. We have become sick with greed, we have thought only of our own nations and their interests, we have become indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns. We have chosen to ignore God, settle for our illusions, become arrogant and aggressive, take away innocent lives and stockpile weapons. We have ceased to be our neighbour’s keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with warfare and with our sins we have broken the heart of our Heavenly Father, who wants us to be brothers and sisters. We have become indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves. Now, with shame, we cry: Forgive us, Lord!

Holy Mother, in the midst of the misery of our sin, in the midst of our struggles and our weaknesses, in the midst of the mystery of iniquity which is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look at us with love, always ready to forgive us and raise us to new life. He gave you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By the gracious will of God, you are always with us; even in the most troubled times of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.

We now turn to you and knock on the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In each era, you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. In this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Tell us once again: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother? You are capable of untying the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust. We are convinced that, especially in times of trial, you will not be deaf to our pleas and that you will come to our aid.

This is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he performed the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2, 3). Now, O Mother, repeat these words and this prayer, for in our days we have exhausted the wine of hope, joy has fled, brotherhood has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and wasted the gift of peace. We have opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness. How we need your maternal help!

Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.

Star of the sea, let us not be shipwrecked in the storm of war.

Ark of the New Covenant, inspires projects and paths of reconciliation.

Queen of Heaven, restore the peace of God to the world.

Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge and teach us forgiveness.

Free us from war, protect our world from the threat of nuclear weapons.

Queen of the Rosary, make us aware of our need to pray and to love.

Queen of the Human Family, show people the way to brotherhood.

Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.

O Mother, may your painful call stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley dried up by our hatred bloom again. In the midst of the thunder of arms, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee the rain of bombs. May your maternal embrace comfort those who are forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your Sorrowful Heart move us with compassion and inspire us to open our doors and care for our wounded and alienated brothers and sisters.

Holy Mother of God, while you were standing under the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: “Here is your son” (Jn 19:26). This is how he entrusted each of us to you. To the disciple, and to each one of us, he says: “Behold your Mother” (v. 27). Mother Mary, we now wish to welcome you into our lives and our history. At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you under the cross, needing to confide in you and, through you, to consecrate themselves to Christ. The peoples of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, turn to you now, even as your heart beats with compassion for them and for all those peoples decimated by war, hunger, injustice and poverty.

Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we entrust and solemnly consecrate ourselves, together with the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we perform with trust and love. Make war end and peace spread in the world. The “Fiat” that came out of your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We hope that, through your heart, peace will rise once again. To you we dedicate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of each people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.

Through your intercession, may the mercy of God pour out on earth and may the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of “Fiat”, on whom the Holy Spirit descended, restore among us the harmony that comes from God. May you, our “living fountain of hope”, water the dryness of our hearts. In your bosom Jesus took flesh; help us to make communion grow. You once walked the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen.

Tomorrow, Saturday March 26, Bishop Nowakowski will join the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at the “London Stands with Ukraine: March and Vigil” event to send a unified message of support to the Ukrainian people.

“London Stands with Ukraine” will begin with a solidarity march from Park Lane to Trafalgar Square, starting at 2 p.m. The vigil will begin from 3 p.m. in Trafalgar Square

Key words: Ukraine, Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski,

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