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Worldwide Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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On the day Pope Francis asked for the worldwide consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Father John Fisher, OSFS, shared messages of hope and action.

Quoting from Saint Francis de Sales, he said, “Let the world turn upside down. Let everything be in darkness, in smoke, in uproar. God is with us.”

That message, he said, “is the consolation we have to take in such tough times, whether it be in Ukraine, Russia or on our own streets, families or personal lives.”

Photo Gallery: Consecration of Russia, Ukraine in Camden’s Cathedral

Father Fisher, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden, joined Pope Francis, bishops and priests around the world in celebrating Mass on March 25 – the Feast of the Annunciation – and leading the faithful in the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Due to his being out of town for seminary meetings at Dunwoodie in Yonkers, N.Y., Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan entrusted this most important cause to Father Fisher. Bishop Sullivan took part in the consecration with the seminary community. 

“We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war, and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters,” the nearly 100 gathered in Camden’s Cathedral prayed.

Said Father Fisher, “If we see the images and turn on the news feed, we have broken the heart of our heavenly father. Our fiat each day, our fidelity can repair that heart.”  

During his homily, Father Fisher spoke of how the Annunciation – when the Angel Gabriel visited the Virgin Mary to tell her she would be the mother of Jesus – is the beginning of salvation history.

“God is with us,” he said. “We may look sometimes and say, ‘What happened? Where is God with us – the pain in our streets, in those who are struggling, in the violence and how about all the children who have senselessly be taken away in Ukraine. Where is God with us in those moments?’

What may have happened, he said, “is we forgot this feast today. Where some young virgin minding her own business has an angel come to her, proclaims her blessed and doesn’t ask her … ‘Can you do a favor for me? Can you run this errand?’ No, the angel says, ‘Can you be the mother of God?’ And she says … ‘let it be done to me, for I am your handmaid; I am your servant.’

“Every single day, we have the opportunity to repeat this annunciation – to figure out what it is the Lord wants of us,” Father Fisher continued. “The task never changes. “It’s always to do the will of God for this world.”

Reflecting on the Act of Consecration prayer, Father Fisher said, “Let us be attentive to the words of Pope Francis, and let us get out of the darkness and be light for one another. Let that light shine so much and let that light even shine in the heart of a leader who may change his mind and bring love and healing.”

For Richard Jackson of Saint Peter Parish, Merchantville, hearing about Mary’s “yes” to God was thought-provoking. Jackson converted from the Protestant faith to Catholicism eight years ago.

“‘I’m your handmaiden’ is something I heard about in the Protestant Church but never really understood until now. Hearing readings like the one today is really meaningful,” he said.

Knowing he was part of prayer taking place worldwide, he added, “makes you feel very small but also that you’re part of something much bigger than yourself.”

Fellow Mass-goer Anne Marie Gavin agreed. “This unifies us. If you look at the time zones, there is probably a Mass or consecration going on 24 hours. God has to hear all those prayers. He has to hear the volume.”