The recent consecration of Russia and Ukraine on March 25 to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Pope Francis, in union with all the bishops of the whole world, at the express request of the Catholic bishops of Ukraine, "as asked, they say, by the Blessed Virgin at Fatima" brings to the fore the apparitions at Fatima in 1917, which are more topical than ever and, we are told, essential for the salvation of humanity.
From May 13 to October 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared six times to three young shepherds: Jacinta Marto, then aged 7, her brother Francisco, aged 9, and their 10-year-old cousin, Lucia Dos Santos. As predicted by Our Lady, the first two children passed away at a very young age: Jacinta in 1920 when she was 9, and Francisco in 1919 at the age of 11. As for Lucia, the Blessed Virgin told her that she would have to stay on earth a "little longer" to make Her message known. She became a nun and died at the age of 97 on January 13, 2005. Jacinta and Francisco were both declared saints by Pope Francis on May 13, 2017, one hundred years to the day after the first apparition of Our Lady. Lucia's beatification process is underway.
Mary's message at Fatima is quite simply that of the Gospel: conversion, prayer and penance. During his first pilgrimage to Fatima, on May 13, 1982, Saint John Paul II declared: "If the Church has accepted the message of Fatima, it is above all because that message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself. 'Repent and believe in the Gospel' (Mk 1:15): these are the first words that the Messiah addressed to humanity." And these are also Mary's words at Fatima.
In his homily for the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco Marto at Fatima on May 13, 2000, Saint John Paul II said: "In Her motherly concern, the Blessed Virgin came here to Fatima to ask men and women 'to stop offending God, Our Lord, who is already very offended'. It is a mother's sorrow that compels Her to speak; the destiny of Her children is at stake. For this reason She asks the little shepherds: 'Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners; many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them'."
Among the requests made by Our Lady at Fatima, several are addressed to all the faithful, but one in particular was addressed to the Pope and to all the bishops of the world: the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
During the July 13th Apparition, the three young shepherds saw a vision of Hell, a sea of fire in which were found the demons and the damned. Following this, Our Lady told the three children:
"You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wants to establish in the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If you do as I say, many souls will be saved, and we will have peace. But if you do not stop offending God, under the reign of Pius XI, another war will begin, worse still. When you will see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign that God is giving you to show that He will punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine and by persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father.
"To prevent this war, I will come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My demands are followed, Russia will be converted, and peace will come. If not, Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing about wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred. The Holy Father will have much to suffer. Many nations will be destroyed.
"In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and an era of peace will be given to the world."
After the 1917 apparitions, Lucia became a nun, and continued to receive celestial apparitions. On June 13, 1929, Our Lady reappeared to Sister Lucy in Tuy, Spain, accompanied by the Holy Trinity. Here is how Sister Lucia relates this event in her memoirs:
"Our Lady told me: 'The time has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all of the world's Bishops, the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart. He promises to save it through this means. They are so numerous, the sins which God condemns to be sins committed against Me, that I have come to ask for reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray!'
"Later on, by means of an intimate communication, Our Lord told me, complaining: 'They did not want to listen to My demand...! Like the King of France, they will repent of it but it will be too late. Russia will already have spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!'"
A few years later, in a letter dated May 18, 1936, Lucia gave the reasons for this Consecration: "I asked Him why He did not force Russia to convert without the Pope having to make this Consecration. Jesus said to me: 'Because I want My whole Church to recognize this Consecration as being the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I want the devotion to Her Immaculate Heart to be spread as one with the devotion to My Sacred Heart.'"
Regarding the King of France, Our Lord in 1689 had informed Saint Marguerite-Marie Alacoque, a nun at the convent of Paray-le-Monial, to transmit the following message to Louis XIV, King of France. He asked for a national consecration to the Heart of Jesus, a national temple erected by France to the Heart of Jesus, the conversion of the king and the whole court, and an inscription of the Heart of Jesus on France's flag, whereby God will make the king, that is France, victorious over all her enemies, and will give her an eternal reign of honor and glory.
Then, exactly 100 years to the day after the letter mentioning the demands of the Sacred Heart, on June 17, 1789, the French Revolution began. The States General proclaimed themselves a Constituent Assembly, and the king lost all power. A few weeks later, Louis XVI, fallen from the throne and now imprisoned, remembered Our Lord's request to Marguerite-Marie entrusted to his grandfather, Louis XIV. He decided to finally undertake the consecration of France to the Heart of Jesus that God had asked of his ancestors and which had not been accomplished. It was too late.
Several popes in the past had attempted to fulfill Our Lady's request, but one or another element was always missing: either the specific name of Russia was not mentioned, or the consecration was not made in union with all the bishops of the world. For example, in his apostolic letter, Sacro Vergente Anno on July 7, 1952, Pope Pius XII consecrated the peoples of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary but he did not order all Catholic bishops to join him in the act. (Note that Pius XII was consecrated bishop on May 13, 1917, the very day of Mary's first appearance at Fatima.) On October 31, 1942, Pius XII had consecrated the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary but without a specific reference to Russia.
Even if incomplete, any consecration always has a positive effect. The consecration of the world by Pius XII on October 31, 1942, brought a spectacular reversal of the war. Sister Lucia confirmed that this happy turnaround was the fruit of the consecration. On February 28, 1943 she wrote to her confessor, Bishop Manuel Ferreira da Silva: "The Good Lord has already shown me his satisfaction with the act, although incomplete according to His desire, carried out by the Holy Father and by several bishops. He promises, in return, to end the war soon."
This is also what happened with the consecration made by Pope John Paul II on March 24, 1984. After having asked, in a letter sent to the bishops of the whole world to join him, the Pope, standing in Saint Peter's Square in Rome before the pilgrim statue brought from Fatima for the occasion, consecrated the whole world to Mary, with this prayer:
"O Mother of individuals and peoples, You who know all their sufferings and their hopes, You who have a mother's awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness which afflict the modern world, accept the cry which we, moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to Your Heart. Embrace, with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord, this human world of ours, which we entrust and consecrate to You, for we are full of concern for the earthly and eternal destiny of individuals and peoples.
"In a special way we entrust and consecrate to You those individuals and nations which particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated. We fly to Your patronage, O Holy Mother of God. Despise not our petitions while we are faced by adversity."
Although he did not specifically mention Russia, St. John Paul II nevertheless added these words to the consecration: "Enlighten especially the peoples whose consecration and entrustment by us You are awaiting." A few months later, John Paul II confided to Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, who asked him why he had not specifically mentioned Russia during the consecration, that it was indeed his intention, but that at the last minute diplomats advised him not to do so.
Sister Lucy advised that God nevertheless accepted John Paul II's consecration, which was followed by several good fruits. For example, on May 13, 1984, an explosion at the Soviets'Severomorsk Naval Base, near Mourmansk on the Kola Peninsula in Russia, destroyed two-thirds of all the missiles stockpiled for the Soviets'Northern Fleet, the largest of four fleets. The blast also destroyed workshops needed to maintain the missiles as well as hundreds of scientists and technicians. This happened at a time when the USSR was considering a preemptive nuclear strike against NATO, following the Euro-missile crisis. A military historian, Alberto Leoni, asserted: "Without this missile base which controlled the North Sea, the USSR had no chance of achieving victory." Five years later, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, followed on December 25, 1991 by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The communist flag was then lowered for the last time at the Kremlin in Moscow.
Here is another proof that the consecration of a nation to Mary has always enjoyed a positive effect. After seeing the sign in the sky, on the night of January 26 to 27, 1938, Sister Lucia understood that the war foretold by Our Lady in Her July 13, 1917 message was near. On several occasions, she offered warnings to the bishop of the diocese of Leiria (where Fatima is located), Most Rev. Da Silva. On one of these occasions, on February 6, 1939, seven months before the War was officially declared, Lucia wrote to him warning of the imminence of the War. She added an important point: Portugal would be spared because its bishops had consecrated their nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
On May 13, 1931, all the bishops of Portugal had consecrated the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a consecration that they renewed on May 13, 1938. Sister Lucia's prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. No Portuguese soldier took part in the hostilities, and no foreign army ever occupied Portugal. While the whole of Europe was subjected to a horrendous war which lasted for five years, only Portugal remained at peace.
We now come to the consecration made by Pope Francis on March 25, 2022. (See page 13.) Did it meet the requests made by Our Lady? If we consider what she asked, point by point, as cited by Lucia in 1917 and 1929, we can only answer yes. See for yourself:
√ It was indeed a solemn consecration;
√ Russia was mentioned specifically;
√ It was a consecration not only to Mary but to Her Immaculate Heart;
√ The consecration was made in union with all the bishops of the world;
√ It was made by the Pope and all the bishops on the same day, and as far as possible, at the same hour.
Our Lady of Fatima had asked all the faithful to participate in acts of reparation and by partaking in the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays of five consecutive months. Let us remember Our Lady's words on July 13, 1917: "To prevent this war, I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart AND the Communion of Reparation of the first Saturdays. If My DEMANDS are followed, Russia will be converted and peace will come."
With the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 2022, the Holy Father accomplished, if we can put it this way, his part of the "contract". It is now up to the lay faithful, to all the baptized, to fulfill their part which is the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays of five consecutive months.
World peace depends not only on the pope's response, but also on our own. As Pope Francis noted in his homily preceding the March 25 consecration, "If we want the world to change, our hearts must first change." It is somewhat for this reason that Pope Francis, in his act of consecration, did not include only Russia, but all human beings because all must consecrate themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is the will of God.
The main purpose of the Fatima apparitions is for the salvation of sinners through the establishment in the world of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On June 13, 1917, Our Lady said to the three little seers: "Jesus wants to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. Whoever embraces this devotion, I promise salvation. These souls will be cherished by God as flowers placed by Me to adorn His throne." The request was repeated almost word for word on July 13, 1917: "To save souls, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If people do what I am going to tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace."
Not long before her death, Jacinta had told Lucia, "Soon I shall go to Heaven. You are to stay here to reveal that the Lord wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you start to reveal this, don't hesitate. Tell everyone that Our Lord grants us all graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that all must make their petitions to Her; that the Sacred Heart of Jesus desires that the Immaculate Heart of Mary be venerated at the same time. Tell them that they should all ask for peace from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as God has placed it in Her hands. Oh, if I could only put in the heart of everyone in the world the fire that is burning in me and makes me love so much the Heart of Mary!"
Amongst the demands made by Our Lady at Fatima, four are meant for everyone: To pray the daily Rosary, stop offending Our Lord, do penance for the conversion of sinners, and make a Communion of Reparation on First Saturdays.
On December 10, 1925, the Mother of God appeared to Sr. Lucia and said to her: "Look My daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console Me and announce in My name that I promise to assist at the moment of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep Me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making Reparation to Me."
On the night of May 29 to 30, 1930, Jesus revealed to Sr. Lucia the reason for five Saturdays: "Daughter, the motive is simple: there are five kinds of offenses and blasphemies spoken against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. First: blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception; second: against her Virginity; third: against the Divine Maternity, refusing, at the same time, to receive her as the Mother of mankind; fourth: those who seek publicly to implant, in the hearts of children, indifference, disrespect, and even hate for this Immaculate Mother; fifth: those who revile her directly in her sacred images."
Mary told the three children: "Pray much and do penance for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to do penance and to pray for them." She added: "Do you want to offer yourself to God to withstand all of the sufferings that He may will to send upon you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and as an act of supplication for the conversion of sinners?"
Let us listen to and put into practice the requests of our Heavenly Mother to obtain peace in the world and peace in the heart of every human being. Let us rest assured that the promise which Mary made at Fatima will be fulfilled: "In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph." This is God's desire.