5 things to know about Pope Francis’ consecration prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Pope Francis in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 2015. Pope Francis in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 2015. | Vatican Media.

Pope Francis has asked Catholics around the world to join him on Friday in consecrating all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To enable Catholic parishes around the world to participate, the Vatican released in advance the text of the act of consecration that Pope Francis will pray in St. Peter’s Basilica at around 6:30 p.m. local time on March 25. Here are some unique details in the consecration prayer:

1. Pope Francis mentions Russia by name

In the text of the consecration prayer provided by the Vatican to all the Catholic bishops of the world, Russia is specifically mentioned by name. This contrasts with John Paul II’s consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary ⁠— also on March 25, but in 1984 ⁠— in which John Paul II ultimately decided not to make a literal reference to the country for diplomatic reasons.

Not only is Pope Francis consecrating Russia and Ukraine, but all of humanity and the Church.

The 2022 consecration says: “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.”

2. It affirms that Mary always leads to Jesus, the Prince of Peace

The consecration is full of biblical references to Mary’s role as an intercessor. Pope Francis makes sure to mention at the beginning of the prayer that Mary never ceases “to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.”

As St. Louis de Montfort has taught, an act of total consecration is, in fact, a consecration to Jesus through Mary.

Pope Francis’ text mentions Mary’s role at the wedding feast at Cana in which she interceded with Jesus and he worked his first public miracle. It also directly quotes Jesus’ words on the Cross when he entrusted his Mother to his disciple, John, saying “Behold, your Mother.”

3. Pope Francis mentions nuclear weapons

The pope will invoke Mary by many different titles, including Star of the Sea, Ark of the New Covenant, Queen of Heaven, and Queen of Peace in invoking her intercession for peace in the world at a time of war between Russia and Ukraine.

The prayer specifically asks the Blessed Virgin Mary to “free us from war” and to “protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.”

4. The consecration quotes Our Lady of Guadalupe

The consecration prayer references Marian devotions from around the world, including Mary, Undoer of Knots, a Marian devotion close to Pope Francis’ heart.

It also directly quotes Our Lady of Guadalupe’s words to St. Juan Diego: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?”

The consecration says: “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.”

5. Pope Francis asks forgiveness from God on behalf of all humanity

Pope Francis will make the act of consecration in the context of a penitential service in which many priests will be hearing confessions in St. Peter’s Basilica.

At the beginning of the prayer, Pope Francis confesses to the Lord on behalf of humanity: “We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars.”

The pope then asks for forgiveness for “ravaging” the world with war and sin. The prayer says: “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,” it says.

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