Today was the Solemnity of the Annunciation. It was also the day Pope Francis chose to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When Mary appeared to the children at Fatima, this was one of her requests, but it was to be done a certain way. I’m not exactly sure of the details, as I have read several articles that seem to conflict. In any case, I understand that today’s consecration would be in accordance with her request. My mom and I watched the event on EWTN. It was announced that there were about 3500 people in the Basilica and another 2000 outside. The celebration started with a penance service. After the scripture readings, Pope Francis gave his homily about the incredible forgiveness that God offers to us. He said that just as the angel told Mary, ‘Be not afraid.” we shouldn’t be afraid to go to God in Confession. God knows our weaknesses and is greater than our mistakes. The pope noted the words written above the confessional that address our relationship with God, “To turn away from you is to fall. To turn back to you is to rise. To abide in you is to have life.” After the homily, Pope Francis led by example by going to Confession himself before hearing the confession of others. Once the time for Confession had ended, Pope Francis made his way over to the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and said the prayer of consecration. I was happy that the words were available online for my mother and I to follow. The entire celebration was solemn and moving. Here with just my mom in our little house in the city thousands of miles from the Vatican, I felt like I was able to unite with perhaps millions of others around the world who were also praying for peace today. I have hope for the effects.
I Found God today joining with others around the world to pray for peace.