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(LifeSiteNews) – Today, Bishop Athanasius Schneider issued a statement calling upon the world’s bishops to join Pope Francis when he consecrates Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.

LifeSite reached out to him yesterday, asking whether he could issue such a statement, after LifeSite’s founders John-Henry Westen and Steve Jalsevac issued a similar call, imploring readers to contact their bishops and ask them to join the March 25 consecration. They stated that “in all of our 25-year history, we have never put out a more urgent request than the one we are about to lay out to you now.” The consecration of Russia is one key message of Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared numerous times to poor children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, with added requests given to one of the seers, Sister Lucia. Our Lady of Fatima requested this consecration in order to bring about peace to the world and the conversion of Russia.

In light of the Vatican’s announcement of the upcoming consecration of Russia and Ukraine, Bishop Schneider wrote in the statement as sent to LifeSite (see full text below) that this “ought to fill all Catholics with deep joy, consolation and encouragement, and we hope that it will also bring joy and solace to our dear Orthodox brothers and sisters in Russia and Ukraine.” He then reminded us that, according to what Our Lady told Sister Lucia, “the Pope should invite all bishops to unite themselves with him in making this consecration.”

“We hope, that even in the absence of a formal invitation from the Pope, many bishops will unite themselves to this act of consecration,” he added.

In the face of the “unprecedented spiritual crisis” that Church and state are currently undergoing, “the common collegial act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart, made by the Pope in union with the world’s bishops, will be a powerful instrument for Divine Providence to pour out those special graces which the Church and the world so urgently need,” Bishop Schneider concluded.

On February 24, a long-coming Russia-Ukraine war began. There are now millions of refugees and much suffering, so much so that at the beginning of March, the Ukrainian bishops had called upon Pope Francis to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. LifeSite reported today that they now also call upon all the bishops of the world to unite with Pope Francis and his consecration.

The Latin American bishops have already announced that they will join Pope Francis in his consecration of Russia and Ukraine.

Bishop Schneider also sent LifeSite a prayer for the consecration of Russia that he wrote earlier and that he now proposes as a novena in preparation for the March 25 consecration of Russia and Ukraine:

Preparatory Novena prayer for the Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Holy Mother of God and our most tender Mother. Look down upon the distress in which the Church and all humanity finds itself due to the spread of godlessness, materialism and the persecution of the Catholic Faith, errors of which you warned in Fatima.

You are the Mediatrix of all graces. Obtain for us the grace that all the bishops of the world, in union with the Pope, may consecrate Russia and Ukraine to Your Immaculate Heart on March 25, 2022. By this consecration we hope – as you told us in Fatima – that, at a time appointed by God, Russia will be converted, and mankind will be granted an era of peace. We hope that by this consecration, the triumph of Your Immaculate Heart will soon draw near and the Church will be authentically renewed in the splendor of the purity of the Catholic Faith, the sacredness of the liturgy and the holiness of the Christian life.

O Queen of the Holy Rosary and our most tender Mother, turn Your merciful eyes toward the Pope, the bishops and each of us, and graciously hear our fervent and trusting prayer. Amen.

Full statement by Bishop Athanasius Schneider:

The Holy See has announced that Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Friday, March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, during a 5pm penance service in St. Peters’s Basilica. This news ought to fill all Catholics with deep joy, consolation and encouragement, and we hope that it will also bring joy and solace to our dear Orthodox brothers and sisters in Russia and Ukraine. As we know from Our Lady’s request to Sister Lucia, the Pope should invite all bishops to unite themselves with him in making this consecration. We hope, that even in the absence of a formal invitation from the Pope, many bishops will unite themselves to this act of consecration. At a time when the Church and the world are passing through an unprecedented spiritual crisis, the common collegial act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart, made by the Pope in union with the world’s bishops, will be a powerful instrument for Divine Providence to pour out those special graces which the Church and the world so urgently need.

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Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.

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