Two days after the ninth anniversary of Pope Francis’ election, the Holy See Press Office issued the following announcement today:
“On Friday 25 March, during the Celebration of Penance at which he will preside at 17.00 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The same act, on the same day, will be carried out in Fatima by His Eminence Cardinal Krajewski, Apostolic Almoner, as envoy of the Holy Father.”
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, a Polish prelate, recently traveled to Ukraine on behalf of Pope Francis, together with Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J. (who will now return to Ukraine for a second visit at the Pope’s request). Following his March 6 Angelus address, Pope Francis stated:
“The Holy See is prepared to do everything, to put itself at the service of this peace. In these days, two Cardinals went to Ukraine to serve the people, to help. Cardinal Krajewski, the Almoner, to bring aid to the needy, and Cardinal Czerny, interim Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The presence of the two Cardinals there is the presence, not only of the Pope, but of all Christian people who want to draw closer and say: ‘War is madness! Stop, please! Look at this cruelty!’.”
Today’s announcement is presumably in response to the recent appeal of Ukraine’s Catholic bishops to Pope Francis, published on Ash Wednesday (Mar. 2, 2022), in which they asked for the consecration “of Ukraine and Russia” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
“Holy Father! In these hours of immeasurable pain and terrible ordeal for our people, we, the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Ukraine, are spokesmen for the unceasing and heartfelt prayer, supported by our priests and consecrated persons, which comes to us from all Christian people that Your Holiness will consecrate our Motherland and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Responding to this prayer, we humbly ask Your Holiness to publicly perform the act of consecration to the Sacred Immaculate Heart of Mary of Ukraine and Russia, as requested by the Blessed Virgin in Fatima.
May the Mother of God, Queen of Peace, accept our prayer: Regina pacis, ora pro nobis!”
Background: Our Lady’s Fatima Message
In order to appreciate the significance of today’s historic news, we must revisit the words of Our Lady of Fatima (for multiple resources on the history of the apparitions, see here).
During her third apparition (July 13, 1917) to the three shepherd children — Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto — Our Lady entrusted to them a secret consisting of three parts:
- a vision of hell, which Lucia later described in her Memoirs as “a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth,” in which “were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration”;
- prophecies concerning the 20th century (e.g., the end of World War I, beginning of World War II, spread of Russia’s errors, annihilation of nations) and the means of preventing “wars and persecutions of the Church” (including the Second World War); and
- a vision of “a Bishop dressed in White,” whom Lucia described as “the Holy Father,” walking “through a big city half in ruins” and filled with dead bodies, who is himself eventually martyred “by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him” — “and in the same way,” Lucia wrote, “there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions,” according to the text released by the Vatican on June 26, 2000. (For a summary of evidence that the third part of the Secret of Fatima, the so-called “Third Secret,” includes more than the aforementioned vision — namely, additional words of Our Lady — see here.)
It is in the second part of the Secret of Fatima that Our Lady mentions Russia:
“When you see a night illumined by an unknown light [see here for details], know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays [see here for details]. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
Roughly 12 years later (June 13, 1929), Our Lady returned as promised and announced to Lucia, who had since entered religious life: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, and to order that in union with him and at the same time, all the bishops of the world make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to convert it because of this day of prayer and worldwide reparation.”
Two years later (Aug. 1931), Our Lord Himself told Sister Lucia: “Make it known to My ministers [i.e., the Pope and bishops of the Church], given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My command [a reference to Our Lord’s revelations to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in 1689 regarding the consecration of France to His Sacred Heart], they will follow him into misfortune” (see here for further explanation).
Consecration of Russia: Our Lady’s Specific Instructions
It is crucial to understand Our Lady’s specific instructions regarding the consecration. As quoted above, the Immaculate Virgin told Sister Lucia in 1929: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, and to order that in union with him and at the same time, all the bishops of the world make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to convert it because of this day of prayer and worldwide reparation.”
Thus, we see that the requested consecration includes several specific conditions:
- It must be (1) the Pope who publicly performs the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary — hence, (2) he must name Russia explicitly as the object of consecration.
- The Pope (3) must “order…all the bishops of the world” to “make the consecration of Russia” to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart (4) “in union with him and at the same time” (emphasis added).
- In order for the consecration to actually “convert” Russia, (5) the public ceremony must involve a conspicuous “day of prayer and worldwide reparation.”
In May of 1936, Sister Lucia wrote to her spiritual director and relayed what Our Lord had told her regarding why He would not convert Russia apart from the fulfillment of these specific conditions: “Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its cult [particular devotion] later on, and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.”
It is an irrefutable fact that, to this day, no pope has ever completed the consecration of Russia according to the specific conditions outlined above. Below is a list of occasions on which popes have consecrated (or “entrusted”) the world (not Russia, specifically) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
- Oct. 31, 1942: Pius XII consecrated “not only the holy Church…but also the entire world…” (see here for Italian text).
- Nov. 21, 1964: Paul VI renewed Pius XII’s 1942 consecration at the end of the third session of Vatican II, in the presence of the Council Fathers.
- May 13, 1982: John Paul II consecrated “this human world of ours” while in Fatima, on the 65th anniversary of Our Lady’s first apparition at Fatima and the first anniversary of the attempt on his life.
- March 25, 1984: John Paul II repeated in Rome his 1982 consecration of the world, and he invited (not ordered) the bishops of the world to join him in “the way which each of you considers most appropriate” (see here for Italian text).
- Oct. 13, 2013: Francis offered an “act of entrustment” to the “Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima” in which he did not even specify the world (let alone Russia) as the object of “entrustment,” nor did he mention Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.
“There is one and only one papal consecration in the history of the Catholic Church,” explains Dr. Taylor Marshall in his book Infiltration, “that comes close to meeting the specific consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart, and it is found in Pius XII’s Apostolic Letter Sacro Vergente, dated 7 July 1952.”
Marshall goes on: “Pius XII explicitly refers to the international consecration of all nations in 1942, and here in 1952 he renews it again, but this time for Russia specifically: ‘We consecrate all the peoples of Russia to the same Immaculate Heart, in the sure trust that with the most powerful patronage of the Virgin Mary the vows are fulfilled as soon as possible.’”
However, as Marshall observes, “it did not include the participation of the bishops of the world. Hence, it does not fulfill the precise instructions of Our Lady.”
In May of 1952, ten years after Pius XII’s consecration of the world and two months prior to the publication of Sacro Vergente Anno (see here for Italian text), Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia and said: “Make it known to the Holy Father that I still await the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart. Without this consecration Russia cannot be converted, nor can the world have peace.”
Past Consecrations and Sister Lucia’s Testimony
In addition to the fact that no pope has ever fulfilled Our Lady’s specific instructions, we also have decades of testimony from Sister Lucia that none of the aforementioned consecrations have ever satisfied Heaven’s conditions.
On July 15, 1946, Sister Lucia was interviewed by Catholic historian William Thomas Walsh. Professor Walsh described the interview in his 1947 book Our Lady of Fátima:
“Finally we came to the important subject of the second July secret, of which so many different and conflicting versions have been published. Lucia made it plain that Our Lady did not ask for the consecration of the world to Her Immaculate Heart. What She demanded specifically was the consecration of Russia.
She did not comment, of course, on the fact that Pope Pius XII had consecrated the world, not Russia, to the Immaculate Heart in 1942. But she said more than once, and with deliberate emphasis: ‘What Our Lady wants is that the Pope and all the bishops in the world shall consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart on one special day. If this is done, She will convert Russia and there will be peace. If it is not done, the errors of Russia will spread through every country in the world.’
‘Does this mean, in your opinion, that every country, without exception, will be overcome by Communism?’
It was plain that she felt that Our Lady’s wishes had not yet been carried out.”
Several times throughout the 1980s, Sister Lucia repeated that the papal consecrations thus far performed — including John Paul II’s 1984 consecration — did not fulfill Heaven’s specific conditions. Catholic attorney and author Christopher Ferrara summarizes Sister Lucia’s extensive testimony in his book False Friends of Fatima (available in full here):
“On May 12, 1982, the day before the attempted 1982 consecration, the Vatican’s own L’Osservatore Romano published an interview of Sister Lucia by Father Umberto Maria Pasquale, a Salesian priest, during which she told Father Umberto that Our Lady had never requested the consecration of the world, but only the Consecration of Russia:
At a certain moment I said to her: ‘Sister, I should like to ask you a question. If you cannot answer me, let it be. But if you can answer it, I would be most grateful to you … Has Our Lady ever spoken to you about the consecration of the world to Her Immaculate Heart?’
‘No, Father Umberto! Never! At the Cova da Iria in 1917 Our Lady had promised: I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia … In 1929, at Tuy, as She had promised, Our Lady came back to tell me that the moment had come to ask the Holy Father for the Consecration of that country (Russia).’
Sister Lucia confirmed this testimony in a handwritten letter to Father Umberto, which the priest also published. (See photographic reproduction of the pertinent section of Sister Lucia’s letter on next page.) A translation of the letter reads:
Reverend Father Umberto, in replying to your question, I will clarify: Our Lady of Fatima, in Her request, referred only to the consecration of Russia … — Coimbra 13 IV – 1980 (signed) Sister Lucia
1983: On March 19, 1983, at the request of the Holy Father, Sister Lucia met with the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Portalupi, a Dr. Lacerda, and Father Messias Coelho. During this meeting Sister Lucia confirmed that Pope John Paul’s consecration of 1982 did not fulfill the requests of Our Lady:
‘In the act of offering of May 13, 1982, Russia did not appear as being the object of the consecration. And each bishop did not organize in his own diocese a public and solemn ceremony of reparation and consecration of Russia. Pope John Paul II simply renewed the consecration of the world executed by Pius XII on October 31, 1942. From this consecration we can expect some benefits, but not the conversion of Russia.’
On this occasion Sister Lucia flatly concluded: ‘The Consecration of Russia has not been done as Our Lady had demanded it. I was not able to say it because I did not have the permission of the Holy See.’
1984: On Thursday, March 22, 1984, three days before the consecration of the world at issue, the Carmel of Coimbra was celebrating Sister Lucia’s seventy-seventh birthday. She received on that day, as was her custom, her old friend Mrs. Eugenia Pestana. After extending good wishes to her Carmelite friend, Mrs. Pestana asked: ‘Then Lucia, Sunday is the Consecration?’ Sister Lucia, who had already received and read the text of the Pope’s consecration formula, made a negative sign and declared: ‘That consecration cannot have a decisive character.’
1985: In Sol de Fatima, the Spanish publication of the Blue Army, Sister Lucia was asked if the Pope had fulfilled the request of Our Lady when he consecrated the world the previous year. Sister Lucia replied: ‘There was no participation of all the bishops, and there was no mention of Russia.’ She was then asked, ‘So the consecration was not done as requested by Our Lady?’ to which she replied: ‘No. Many bishops attached no importance to this act.’
1987: On July 20, 1987 Sister Lucia was interviewed quickly outside her convent while voting. She told journalist Enrique Romero that the Consecration of Russia has not been done as requested.
One could cite more of Lucia’s affirmations that the 1984 consecration of the world (and that of 1982) did not fulfill Heaven’s conditions, but the point is made.”
In the same book, Ferrara also explains:
“By 1988-89 not only the Blue Army but other major Fatima apostolates that had maintained that the consecration of Russia was not yet accomplished were reversing themselves. In conformity with the Party Line — which in fact they had never been bound to follow — they now declared that the 1984 ceremony fulfilled the desires of Heaven. …
It was also at this time that typewritten and computer-generated letters, purportedly from Sister Lucy — who never used a computer — began to circulate. Typical of the manifestly incredible letters was the one dated November 8, 1989, to a Mr. Noelker, which contains the statement by ‘Sister Lucy’ that Pope Paul VI consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart during his brief visit to Fatima in 1967 — a consecration that never happened, as Sister Lucy certainly knew because she witnessed the entire visit. The Noelker letter would become the Vatican’s sole documentary evidence [cited in The Message of Fatima] that even Sister Lucy had reversed herself and now ‘agreed’ that Russia was consecrated in 1984 without mention of Russia.”
Thus, we see the insistence of Sister Lucia — over a period of more than 40 years — that the consecration must be accomplished according to Our Lady’s specific instructions (do not fall for disinformation to the contrary).
What Can We Do?
Between now and March 25, all Catholics worldwide must mobilize and do the following:
- Pray fervently, especially the Holy Rosary, for the consecration of Russia according to Our Lady’s specific instructions — including this novena and this prayer.
- Sign this petition asking Pope Francis to perform the consecration according to Heaven’s specific conditions.
- Contact your local diocese — if possible, your local bishop directly (check your diocese’s website for contact info) — and respectfully ask that your bishop publicly and solemnly consecrate Russia in union with Pope Francis on March 25, 2022.
May God bless our efforts, and may Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart triumph soon!
UPDATE (3/16/2022): Today, Bishop Athanasius Schneider issued a statement in which he says “the Pope should invite all bishops to unite themselves with him in making this consecration.” He has also released a novena prayer to be said daily leading up to the consecration of Russia (scheduled for Friday, March 25 at 5pm Rome Time):
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.
 Letter of Sister Lucia to Fr. José Bernardo Gonçalves, May 18, 1936. Quoted by Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité in The Whole Truth About Fatima Vol. II: The Secret and the Church (Buffalo: Immaculate Heart Publications, 1989), p. 631.
 Taylor Marshall, Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within (Manchester: Crisis Publications, 2019), pp. 101-102. Fatima scholar Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité concurs that the consecration of Russia contained in Sacro Vergente Anno did not suffice. See The Whole Truth About Fatima Vol. III: The Third Secret (Buffalo: Immaculate Heart Publications, 1990), pp. 334-335.
 Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima Vol. III, pp. 327, 351 (note 29).
 William Thomas Walsh, Our Lady of Fátima (New York: Image, May 1990 edition), p. 221. Years later, Louis Kaczmarek revealed the following concerning the 1946 Walsh interview in his book The Wonders She Performs (Manassas: Trinity Communications, 1986): “…I spent some time with Fr. Manuel Rocha, the interpreter selected for Mr. William Thomas Walsh, who wrote perhaps the most popular book on Fatima. Fr. Rocha told me that one of the questions Mr. Walsh asked him to translate to Sister Lucia during a three hour interview on the afternoon of July 15, 1946…was, ‘In your opinion, will every country, without exception, be overcome by communism?’ Her pale brown eyes staring into his, a ‘little dimple on each cheek,’ she answered ‘yes.’ Fr. Rocha related to me that Mr. Walsh wanted to be positive about the answer and therefore repeated the question adding ‘and does that mean the United States of America too?’ Sister Lucia answered ‘yes.’” (Kaczmarek, The Wonders She Performs, pp. 159-160).
 Christopher A. Ferrara, False Friends of Fatima (Pound Ridge: Good Counsel Publications, 2012), pp. 49-51.
 Ibid., pp. 56-57.