Consecration to Mary
Diocese joins prayers of Pope Francis, bishops
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
March 31, 2022
ROCKFORD—A few days before the Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25, Pope Francis asked the bishops of the world to join him from their dioceses on that solemnity in offering a Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary all together at the same moment.
That moment began at 6:30 p.m. in Rome and at 11 a.m. in the Diocese of Rockford as Bishop David Malloy offered a few thoughts to those gathered at the Cathedral of St. Peter and those listening to the livestreamed event.
Bishop Malloy began with his thanks to Pope Francis for the idea, noting that “the Holy Father has said this moment is intended to lift up to God, through His mother and ours, the cry of pain of all who suffer and implore an end to the violence, and to entrust the future of our human family to the Queen of Peace.”
Most diocesan priests would in some way join in the Act of Consecration from their parishes sometime that day, perhaps with Mass, a Holy Hour and/or a recitation of the rosary, he said. “The point is to join ourselves to the prayer of the Holy Father,” Bishop Malloy said, “and to implore Mary’s intercession in this tragic and dangerous moment brought about by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
The bishop also thanked the several dozen people who joined in the prayers at the Cathedral, which included the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary as well as the formal consecration being echoed throughout the world at that moment.
That echo included Pope Francis who led a Lenten penance service and pleaded with Mary to “accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end, and peace spread throughout the world.”
Bishop Malloy provided a short summary of the consecration’s connection to Fatima, noting that 1984’s consecration offered by Pope St. John Paul II “was what Mary wished for and was accepted in heaven,” per Sister Lucia, one of the children who experienced the Blessed Mother’s apparitions in Fatima in 1917.
“Mary specifically foretold the link between sin and war,” Bishop Malloy said. “This is not the foretelling of a vengeful God. It simply reminds a forgetful world of the place of God and the damage of sinfulness.
“For that reason, the message of the Angel of Peace and of Mary at Fatima had to do with sorrow for sin, for reparation, for the conversion of sinners. That is the time-honored, the only way for us to seek holiness, to live the lives that God has called each of us individually and all of us together to live. That is the way to true peace in our own hearts, in our families, and everywhere in the world.”
In his homily during the Lenten penance service, the pope acknowledged that the war in Ukraine, which “has overtaken so many people and caused suffering to all, has made each of us fearful and anxious.”
“Human reassurance is not enough,” the pope said. “We need the closeness of God and the certainty of his forgiveness, and once renewed by it, Christians can also turn to Mary and present their needs and the needs of the world.”
Pope Francis added that the Act of Consecration was “no magic formula but a spiritual act” of trust by “children who, amid the tribulation of this cruel and senseless war that threatens our world, turn to their mother, reposing all their fears and pain in her heart and abandoning themselves to her.”
In Rome, the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica rang out after Pope Francis concluded the Act of Consecration.
It was quiet, and rather cold and drizzly, in Rockford as the Act of Consecration concluded. 
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