“It was a glorious day at Our Lady’s Shrine in Walsingham,” writes Antonia Moffat, “as we joined the Holy Father, the bishops and the entire universal Church for the solemn Act of Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Deo Gratias! In faith we await the response from Heaven. For God knows His timing.”
Pope Francis situated this Act of Consecration in a Service of Penance. He stated: “It is fitting that we should invite peace with hearts renewed by God’s forgiveness…This Act of Consecration is meant to be a gesture of the universal Church, which in this dramatic moment lifts up to God, through his Mother and ours, the cry of pain of all those who suffer and implore an end to the violence, and to entrust the future of our human family to the Queen of Peace.”
Bishop Alan especially requested that the Slipper Chapel Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham be brought into the Basilica for this occasion. He read the letter in which Pope Francis invited all the bishops of the world to join him in collegial union for the Act of Consecration.
Clergy and people from the Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox parishes in Walsingham gathered on the piazza of the parish Church of the Annunciation for an initial service of penance and Rosary of Intercession. Fr Keith Tulloch read the papal letter of introduction before leading the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary – praying, kneeling in penitence for peace, for peace in Ukraine and for the Conversion of Russia.
Fr Christopher Knight, the Orthodox parish priest, then led a penitential prayer for peace. Afterwards the congregation processed into the parish church.
Jane Nicholson of Fara (a Walsingham-based charity), who is recently back from the border between Ukraine and Romania, was visibly moved as she presented an Icon of Our Lady who Assuages Sorrow from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
During the apparitions in Fatima in 1917 Mary said that God wished to establish devotion to her Immaculate Heart. She added that in time she would come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
Pictured above is Bishop Alan in Walsingham for the Act of Consecration and, below, the icon from Ukraine.