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


Archbishop Nowakowski reading the Act of Consecration image ICN/JS

Archbishop Nowakowski reading the Act of Consecration image ICN/JS

The Ukrainian Cathedral in London was packed this afternoon for a moving prayer service during which the Rt Rev Kenneth Nowakowski, Bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Family of London for Ukrainian Catholics in Great Britain, in union with Pope Francis and Catholic Bishops around 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 are dedicating and consecrating Russia and Ukraine under the protection and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We do so recalling the words and the request of Our Lady in Fatima. We do so today at a time even as we are celebrating this particular service the bombs are falling on our beloved Ukraine, are killing Ukrainian people and, of course, we cannot forget about the deaths - the thousands of deaths and injuries - that those fighting against Ukraine are experiencing as well.

"To consecrate oneself, a people and a nation to someone or an ideal is an important thing indeed. But in consecrating Russia and Ukraine under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary the Catholic world, all of the bishops throughout the world in unison with our Patriarch Sviatoslav in Kyiv and our Holy Father Pope Francis are doing so to ask that not only the hearts of those who are perpetrating this war, not only to open the hearts of our leaders who can work towards ending this war, but also our own very hearts to open them to conversion. We will be reading the act of Consecration that the Holy Father has written and will be praying at the same time.

"It is impossible for us to expect there will be peace in the world, peace in Ukraine, if there is not peace in our homes, if there is not peace on our streets, in our communities, and in our own country. Let 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 peacemakers."

The following Act of Consecration prayer 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 hearts is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence! You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Yet we have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars. We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples' dreams of peace and the hopes of the young. We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns. We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons. We stopped being our neighbour's keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters. We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves. Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!

Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life. He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By God's gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.

We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Say to us once more: "Am I not here, I who am your Mother?" You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust. We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.

That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: "They have no wine" (Jn 2:3). Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace. We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness. How greatly we need your maternal help!

Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.

Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.

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

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

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

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

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

Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.

Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.

O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew. Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs. May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.

Holy Mother of God, as you stood beneath the cross, Jesus, seeing the disciple at your side, said: "Behold your son" (Jn 19:26). In this way he entrusted each of us to you. To the disciple, and to each of us, he said: "Behold, your Mother" (v. 27). Mother Mary, we now desire to welcome you into our lives and our history. At this hour, a weary and distraught humanity stands with you beneath the cross, needing to entrust itself to you and, through you, to consecrate itself to Christ. The people of Ukraine and Russia, who venerate you with great love, now turn to you, 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 solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world. The "Fiat" that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.

Through your intercession, may God's mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days. Our Lady of the "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 womb Jesus took flesh; help us to foster the growth of communion. You once trod the streets of our world; lead us now on the paths of peace. Amen.

Tomorrow, Saturday 26th March, Bishop Nowakowski will join Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at the 'London Stands with Ukraine: March and Vigil' 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 2pm. The vigil will commence from 3pm on Trafalgar Square.

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