Cardinal Dolan led the faithful of the archdiocese in joining the Universal Church’s consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, March 25, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Those assembled in the pews as well as those who participated remotely via livestream—followed the cardinal in prayer, first in the midday Angelus prayer and then in the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“How beautifully inspirational to see so many of you,” said the cardinal in welcoming remarks, “responding to the invitation of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to unite in prayer to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of His Blessed Mother, for peace and reconciliation, consecrating the people of Ukraine and Russia to the Lord, to Jesus, through Mary.”
Pope Francis had written to all the bishops in the world, asking them to join him in offering the prayer of consecration as a “gesture of the Universal Church” to invoke an end to the violence and suffering of the innocents during the war in Ukraine. The Holy Father offered the prayer in Rome as part of a Lenten penance service that began at 5 p.m. Rome time (noon in New York).
The consecration in the cathedral happened in front of the Ukrainian Cross of Gratitude, which has been on a pilgrimage stop since the first week of March. Also in the same side chapel to the left of the sanctuary was an icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the Ukrainian flag.
The cardinal acknowledged “this beautiful feast of the Annunciation, nine months before Christmas, as we remember the great mystery of the Incarnation, the Word becoming flesh.”
Minutes before the consecration, CNY spoke with Peter Monaco, 57, a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Catharine parish in Pelham Manor. “We want to consecrate Russia and Ukraine. Let’s do it. Let’s get it done. No time like the present.”
Monaco, a construction safety manager, said the consecration was crucial. “God forbid this could become a conflagration, could become a world war. We don’t want that. We need to avoid that. We need to do what Our Lady asks.
“We can’t delay,” he said. “We have to follow through. Why would we not?”
Monaco underscored the fact that the consecration was a united cause of the Universal Church. “We need to join together. That’s what we’re called to be. Let’s act like good, dutiful Catholics. Let’s have the pope lead us like a good shepherd. And let’s have the bishops and the cardinals all lead their local flocks. It’s very important.”
Kneeling before the Ukrainian cross and the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the cardinal recited the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Excerpts are as follows:
“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…
“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…
“Through your intercession, may God’s mercy be poured out on the earth and the gentle rhythm of peace return to mark our days…”