“It is to Mary and for a mother’s help that we now turn at this troubled hour of history,” Bishop Mark Davies wrote to the faithful of the Diocese of Shrewsbury. “We cannot forget that the peoples of the Ukraine and Russia have been united over the centuries in great love and veneration for the Holy Mother of God, who is also our mother.”
The pastoral letter was read in all churches in the diocese on Sunday, March 27, after the consecration of the Church and the world, especially Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25.
Speaking of the papal consecration to the Immaculate Heart, Davies commented, “The Holy Father was consciously responding to the Gospel message of prayer and repentance that was entrusted to the children of Fatima during the Great War of 1914-1918.”
The bishop then explained what this consecration means for Catholics today, in particular during the season of Lent. “Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means returning to the open Heart of her Son on the Cross,” Davies said. “It is an invitation for all our hearts to be open to Divine love and the grace of repentance.”
Connecting devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the redemption accomplished by Christ on the Cross, Davies continued, “In seeking the intercession of the pure heart of Mary we are led to trust that the power of Redemption is greater than all the destructive power of sin and evil. The Immaculate Heart leads us unfailingly to the fountain of redemption and grace flowing from the sacrifice of the Cross and the Eucharist, which is Christ’s one sacrifice. This is the profession of faith we make whenever we kneel to confess our sins; or to adore, receive and share in the offering of the Holy Eucharist.”
The bishop then called for a daily living out of the consecration to Mary in order to obtain peace. “We each have our part in this consecration,” he said, “by accepting Our Lady’s motherly help in opening our hearts more fully to the grace of God and all that is asked of us in the duty of each day.”
Setting the children of Fatima as an exemplary model of how to live out consecration to Mary, Davies declared, “The children of Fatima had no human means to overcome war and bring peace to the world. Two of these children would die in the global pandemic of a century ago and are numbered among the saints. Yet, by a renewed love for the Eucharist, and a new faithfulness to prayer, especially the prayer of Mary’s heart in the Rosary, and by the offering of the small sacrifices of each day, these children sought to follow the path of Mary’s heart and open the way for the world to receive God’s gift of peace.”