Calls Worldwide Prayer ‘Remarkable’ Moment for Catholic Church
By Currents News Staff and Paula Katinas
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Darryl Bolisay normally attends Mass at St. Fidelis in College Point, Queens, but he made a special trip to the Cathedral Basilica of St. James in Downtown Brooklyn on Friday morning because he wanted to be a part of history.
Bishop Robert Brennan came to the cathedral to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In doing so, he was heeding a call from Pope Francis to perform the consecration in the hope of bringing peace to the two warring nations.
Bolisay wanted to be there to witness the consecration.
“It’s historic,” he said. “I feel that we will see God’s blessing visit down on us today.”
Bolisay said the fact that Catholics around the world were pausing on the same day, many in the same hour, to pray for peace sent a powerful signal.
The Holy Father asked the world’s Catholic bishops to join him in consecrating Russia and Ukraine and set the date for the Act of Consecration for Friday, March 25.
In the Catholic Church, to consecrate something is to make it sacred or holy. In the case of the consecration of Ukraine and Russia, the Church is appealing to God, through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to answer prayers for an end to the war in Ukraine.
Bishop Brennan performed the consecration at precisely noon, the exact time the pope was doing the same at the Vatican.
He marveled at the sense of unity Catholics were feeling.
“It’s pretty remarkable when you think about it,” he said after the Mass. “I think it’s a brilliant stroke on Pope Francis’s part — the whole world joining in at this particular moment. At this moment, all around the world, Catholics are united in a single prayer, a single intention.”
Bishop Brennan performed the consecration after leading a Holy Hour of Prayer for Peace. The consecration, which began, “Oh Mary, Mother of God, and our mother, in this time of trial we turn to you,” also included the passage, “Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.”
The consecration took place as war continues to rage in Ukraine.
“I hope that hearts and minds will indeed be converted,” Bishop Brennan said. “We’d like to see an end to the violence and the aggression. I’d love to see that happen pretty quickly.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24. The invasion has upended the lives of millions. Approximately 3.7 million people have fled the country since the start of the war and 6.5 million people who remained in Ukraine have been displaced from their homes.
According to NATO officials, between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian troops have been killed. So far, Ukraine has not released much information on its military losses, but President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently stated that approximately 1,300 of his country’s troops have been killed.
Friday’s event also gave Catholics the opportunity to consecrate their own lives to God, according to Bishop Brennan, who invoked St. Francis of Assisi.
“A very big part of our Catholic spirituality is that when we pray for peace, we become instruments of God’s peace,” he said. “That has a concrete effect.”