Pope Francis presided over the annual “24 Hours for the Lord” Lenten penitential service in St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday evening, 25th March 2022 as the Church marked the feast of the Annunciation.
Toward the end of the liturgy, the Pope prayed the Act of Consecration of humanity, especially of Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Pope’s renewal of the Consecration came in response to the war in Ukraine and at the request of the Blessed Virgin Mary made in an apparition at Fatima on 13 July 1917.
Pope Francis prayed the Act in communion with all Catholic Bishops across the globe. Metropolitan Archbishop of Chattogram, His Grace, Most Rev. Lawrence Subrato Howlader, CSC called the laity, religious and clergy of Chattogram archdiocese to pray at the parish churches together with the Holy Father. The response from the people of God was spontaneous. Almost all the parishes prayed the holy rosary together and prayed the act of consecration for Russia and Ukraine.
During the homily, Pope Francis lamented the “vicious war” in Ukraine, which has killed many and caused immense suffering.
“In these days, news reports and scenes of death continue to enter our homes, even as bombs are destroying the homes of many of our defenceless Ukrainian brothers and sisters.”- Pope Francis.
The war, added the Pope, reminds us of our “helplessness and our inadequacy”, as well as of our need for the “closeness of God and the certainty of His forgiveness.”
God alone, he said, can eliminate evil, disarm resentment, and restore peace to our hearts.
Pope Francis recalled that God chose the Virgin Mary to change history by beginning a new story of “salvation and peace.”