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Cardinal Krajewski (center) with Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki (L) and Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk (R)Archbishop Stanisław Budzik/Twitter

LVIV, Ukraine (LifeSiteNews) – Ukrainian Catholic prelates have welcomed news of the consecration of Russia as an answer to a request of many years, urging the entire Church to pray novenas in preparation for the consecration, and asking the global episcopate to make the act of consecration with the Pope.

“This is a spiritual act long awaited by the Ukrainian people,” said his Beatitude, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, referring to Pope Francis’ planned consecration of Russia. 

“Ukrainian Catholics since the beginning of Russian aggression in 2014 have been asking for this act as an urgent need to prevent the worsening of the war and the dangers coming from Russia,” Shevchuk told Catholic News Agency (CNA). The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is second only in size to the Latin-rite Catholic Church, with which it is in full communion. 

Archbishop Shevchuk’s comments followed the March 15 announcement from the Holy See Press Office that Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25. Cardinal Krajewski, the Apostolic Almoner, will perform the consecration from Fatima on the same day. 

“In the midst of the tragedy of the bloody war in Ukraine, we looked forward with hope to the news,” Shevchuk stated. He also noted that in a number of meetings through the years he had personally asked Pope Francis, on behalf of the Ukrainian people, to make the consecration of Russia.

“We are grateful to the Holy Father for first of all accepting Our Lady’s request manifested during the apparition of July 13, 1917 in Fatima, and her children, to protect Ukraine and to stop ‘the errors of Russia that promote wars and persecution of the Church,’” said Shevchuk. 

Archbishop Shevchuk linked the current crisis to a fulfilment of the messages warning of persecution, which Our Lady gave to the three young visionaries in Fatima. “So, today we see the fulfillment of the words of Our Lady who said, ‘The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be destroyed,’” he said. 

“Let us entrust to the Immaculate Heart of Mary all our sufferings and hopes for peace in our martyred country,” urged Shevchuk.

Ukrainian bishops ‘insisted’ Pope Francis told of their consecration request

His Beatitude’s comments were supported by Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki of Lviv, the highest ranking Latin-rite prelate in Ukraine, who welcomed how “the Holy Father responded positively to the request of the Bishops of the Latin Catholic Church, all its priests, and all its people.” 

The Latin-rite bishops had sent an appeal to Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday, urging the Pontiff to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary “as requested by the Blessed Virgin in Fatima,” in order to bring an end to the current conflict in the country.

Mokrzycki revealed how the Ukrainian hierarchy decided to appeal for the consecration as a direct result of the war in Ukraine. “So we recalled Our Lady of Fatima, who in 1917 said that the end of the war would come if the Holy Father and the bishops consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart, offer the first Saturdays of every month and pray the Holy Rosary.” 

“So we requested the Holy Father to fulfill that request once again,” he explained, implying that the Ukrainian bishops deem the consecration to have already taken place.

“This was our desire, this was the voice of all the Ukrainian people,” Mokrzycki added in an interview with St. Rita Radio, a sister radio channel of EWTN in Norway.

Cardinal Krajewski recently visited Ukraine as the Papal envoy during the current crisis, and spoke with the Ukrainian Catholic bishops. Mokrzycki noted that they had “insisted to him to bring back this request” of the consecration of Russia to the Pope. 

Archbishop Mokrzycki was confident that the consecration would effect an end to the conflict, saying “we believe that this act will be listened to by Our Lady and she will intercede before God for peace in Ukraine.”

‘Whole Church’ to pray in preparation for proper consecration

While the Pope is due to make a consecration of Russia and Ukraine, the two prelates urged Catholics to pray in the remaining days leading up to the event. Archbishop Mokrzycki revealed how the Ukrainian bishops would “prepare our people with a novena that will start on March 17.” 

The 61-year-old archbishop extended a call for the universal Church to join in a novena of preparation for the consecration. “We are calling all Christians in Ukraine to join this novena, and we would be very grateful if the whole Church around the world would join us in prayer for this intention,” he said.

Faithful Catholics have expressed concern that the planned consecration might still not meet the requirements outlined by Our Lady, namely for all the bishops of the world to make the consecration in union with the Pontiff. To this end, LifeSiteNews is urging readers to contact their bishops to ask them to join the Pope in the consecration, as well as asking the Pope to ensure the bishops join him.

Novenas have also begun in order to bring about the proper act of consecration.

For the Ukrainian hierarchy, however, they will be joining Pope Francis in making the consecration. “All the Catholic bishops in Ukraine, both from the Latin rite and Greek Catholics, will join the Holy Father in this act of consecration, celebrating it at the same time in our cathedrals and churches,” said Archbishop Mokrzycki. “And we are hopeful that we will be joined by many of our brother bishops around the world.”

The Catholic bishops of Latin America announced March 15 that they would join the Pope and the Ukrainian hierarchy in making the consecration.