From staff and wire reports
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has asked bishops around the world to join him March 25 in consecrating Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, something bishops in every part of the globe had started announcing the minute they heard what the pope had planned.
“Pope Francis has invited the bishops of the whole world, along with their priests, to join him in the prayer for peace and in the consecration and entrustment of Russia and of Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said March 18.
Three days earlier, the Vatican had announced the pope would lead the prayer in St. Peter’s Basilica during a Lenten penance service and that, on the same day, the feast of the Annunciation, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, would lead a similar act of consecration at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.
When Mary appeared to three shepherd children at Fatima in 1917 with a message encouraging prayer and repentance, she also asked for the consecration of Russia.
Even before the announcement from the Vatican, bishops from around the world had announced special services at which they would join Pope Francis. Bishops in cities across North America joined bishops from New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Ukraine and other countries planning special services.
In Dallas, Bishop Edward J. Burns will pray the Rosary and celebrate Mass on that day at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, joining in this consecration. Bishop Burns will lead recitation of a Rosary with the faithful at 11:30 a.m. prior to concelebrating Mass at Noon with Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly and priests in attendance.
During the Mass, Bishop Burns will recite the prayer of consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. All are welcome to come join the bishop, imploring the maternal intercession and protection of Our Blessed Mother that all will recognize the sacredness of life and that true peace will reign. For those who cannot attend, the recitation of the Rosary and celebration of Mass will be livestreamed on the diocesan website and social media.
The bishop is also asking that all Catholic churches in the diocese including the downtown cathedral ring their church bells as a call of prayer for peace. Additionally, parishes throughout the diocese on March 25 will be joining with the celebration of Mass or other liturgical activity and prayer of consecration in unity with the Holy Father.
Editor’s note: Catholic News Service contributed to this story.