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Diocese of Boise joins with Pope Francis in consecration of Russia and Ukraine

The following story appeared in the April 8 Idaho Catholic Register.

Bishop Peter Christensen incenses a statute of the Blessed Virgin Mary during a Solemnity of the Annunciation Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on March 25. The Bishop joined Pope Francis and other Bishops throughout the world in an act of consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)

By Emily Woodham

Staff Writer

Bishop Peter Christensen joined Pope Francis and Catholics around the world in consecrating Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

“The time is now to use the powerful weapon for peace given to each of us through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, who is filled with grace,” Bishop Peter said about the Act of Consecration during his homily to more than 200 who attended the Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Boise.

This grace of Mary is God’s gift given to her by her Son, the Bishop said, and this gift is, in turn, “given to each of us who call upon and rely on her.”

“As you are well aware, these are sobering times as the entire world is living in a tension created by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” Bishop Peter said. “The war between these two countries gives pause for us to realize just how fragile the entire world is to the threat of an even greater war spreading.”

Because the consecration happened to coincide with the Feast of the Annunciation, Bishop Peter expounded on the Gospel reading on the Annunciation from the first chapter of Luke, when the archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive and give birth to the Savior.

Just as Mary found favor with God, we have also found favor with God through our baptism, he said. “By your presence here today, you continue to show your willingness to be used by God’s graces given for His favor and purpose, to submit our wills and to serve our Lord in what He continues to ask of us,” he said.

Before Mary gives her fiat, her “yes,” to God’s plan for her, Gabriel reminded Mary that nothing would be impossible for God, Bishop Peter said.

People may feel helpless because they cannot do anything about the war in Ukraine, Bishop Peter said. However, just as Mary was told at the Annunciation that “nothing was impossible with God,” Christians are reminded that much can be accomplished through fervent and faithful prayer. “The gift of prayer is what we actuate in a very deliberate way today, seeking our Lord’s intervention through His Mother to bring greater peace, His peace to our world,” Bishop Peter said.

“We open ourselves to live lives in submission to the will of God. We place our trust in the God who has chosen us for a great work in our world at this time in our history, this day. And we hear the same words spoken by Gabriel to Mary that nothing will be impossible for God,” he said.

Bishop Peter prayed the act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary following the reception of Holy Communion in the Mass.

At nearly the same time as Bishop Peter prayed the Act of Consecration, Pope Francis was doing the same during a penitential service at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. During his homily, Pope Francis said that the consecration “is no magic formula 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,” the pope said.

The following is the entire Act of Consecration offered by Pope Francis, Bishop Peter and other bishops throughout the world:



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 neighbor’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” (John 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” (John 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.

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