On the Upcoming Consecration of Pope Francis’
Pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima
by Andrew Cesanek
April 19, 2013
Cardinal Jose Policarpo, Patriarch of Lisbon and president of the Portuguese Bishops Conference, announced during his opening remarks at their Conference’s 181st Plenary Assembly on Monday, April 8 that Pope Francis had requested him to consecrate his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima. The Portuguese bishops have decided that this will take place on the upcoming feast of Our Lady, Monday, May 13th at the Shrine.
Then-Archbishop Bergoglio wrote to the Fatima Center in 1998, describing the First Saturday devotion being practiced in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires and that at least two parishes in the archdiocese are dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. As pontiff, Pope Francis’ love for Our Lady was evident from his words during his very first public appearance just after his election; and his visit the following day to the basilica of St. Mary Major to pray before an ancient icon of Our Lady.
Consecration of people, or places, or things according to the traditional practice of the Church takes place solemnly and publicly. One recalls the Portuguese bishops’ consecration of Portugal on May 13, 1931 and again on May 13, 1938 (see “The Consecrations of Portugal (1931, 1938) and Their Benefits”). The Philippine bishops are scheduled to consecrate their nation to the Immaculate Heart on June 8th (see “Bishops to consecrate PHL to Mary”).
One finds in the Roman Pontifical several traditional ceremonies for consecration: the consecration of a church, or a paten and chalice, for example. A consecration is a meaningful and deliberate function. The act’s official and public nature calls for outward signs: vestments worn; a prepared, expressive formula which is recited; etc.
The Pope’s request to consecrate his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima is telling and important. It proves that he recognizes the need for Our Lady’s help in the wake of various recent scandals as Pope Francis prepares for needed curial and Church reform. The request highlights his awareness of the significance of Our Lady of Fatima and Her message for the 21st Century.
One wonders whether Pope Francis’ request is a response to having read the Fatima Center’s pre-Conclave delivery of literature to all the Cardinals, highlighting the need for the Consecration of Russia; or if he has read the full Third Secret since his election.
In any case, we are reminded of Our Lord’s and Our Lady’s command at Fatima, to pray a great deal for the Holy Father. We pray for Pope Francis, that despite all the obstacles and difficulties, he will be the Pope to release the full Third Secret and to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with all the bishops, paving the way for the triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.
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