Consecration takes place at shrine

By Sam Lucero | The Compass | March 29, 2022

In unity with pope, world bishops, Bishop Ricken leads Act of Consecration

Bishop David Ricken, joined by priests and deacons of the Diocese of Green Bay, participate in the act of consecration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for Russia and Ukraine. The consecrate followed Mass March 25 at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wis., which was attended by an estimated 600 people. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

CHAMPION — Bishop David Ricken led some 800 people gathered inside Mother of Mercy Hall at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help on Friday, March 25, in an Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Act of Consecration, which took place following Mass, was part of a universal prayer consecrating Ukraine and Russia to the Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart.

“Mother of God and our mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine,” Bishop Ricken prayed, echoing the words of Pope Francis earlier in the day in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. “Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love.”

The Act of Consecration was announced by Pope Francis on March 18, 29 days after Russian military forces invaded Ukraine. In the midst of a growing catastrophe, the pope asked bishops around the world to join him in praying the Act of Consecration. As of March 26, the war has left an estimated 1,119 civilians dead, nearly 2,000 wounded and more than 3.8 million refugees fleeing to neighboring countries, according to the United Nations.

During his homily, Bishop Ricken, standing a few feet from a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, thanked the crowd for joining him for the Mass and Act of Consecration. Praying for an end to war, he said, “that’s why you are here tonight.”

“That’s why many people are joining us livestream to pray with us as well, because the situation, as you know, is very, very dire,” he said. “The Holy Father senses that this is a moment in history, a possible moment of shift, we hope, for peace and the end of war. … We are here together as prayer warriors — warriors of peace and prayer, turning to the Blessed Mother, especially on this, her feast day of the Annunciation, to beseech her help and her ever-persistent presence.”

Bishop Ricken was joined by four priests of the Diocese of Green Bay, as well as the superior general of the Fathers of Mercy, Fr. David Wilton, and the shrine’s rector and chaplain, Fr. John Broussard and Fr. Thomas Reagan, also members of the Fathers of Mercy religious order.

Bishop Ricken reflected on the words in the Act of Consecration, written by Pope Francis.

“This is a very instructive and very beautiful consecration prayer that the Holy Father has written,” he said. “So our Holy Father is begging the whole church to bow down before our Lord and for the Blessed Mother, who is his primary disciple who brings peace so very often.”

Even though the war in Ukraine “seems to be far away, we are connected in our humanity and in our faith,” said Bishop Ricken. “We feel the terrible suffering that the people of Ukraine are undergoing.

“I think you and I all sense that this is a precarious moment in history,” he continued. “Because, if revenge builds upon revenge and hatred builds upon hatred, and violence and war builds upon war, we are in for very big trouble. Perhaps even the destruction of whole communities and nations. We must pray.”

The Act of Consecration specifically called for Mary’s “maternal touch” to “soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs,” said Bishop Ricken. It also asked her to comfort the refugees who were “forced to leave their homes and their native land.”

After reading some of the petitions included in the Act of Consecration, Bishop Ricken called the prayer “one beautiful consecration.”

“It truly is global, but its primary purpose is to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the loving queen, our mother, Queen of Peace,” he said. “We are not necessarily asking for her help. We are counting on her help. We are depending upon her help. We are thanking her for her help.”

Bishop Ricken quoted Blessed Solanus Casey, who said, “Thank God ahead of time.”

“So we are thanking (ahead of time) that the whole situation (in Ukraine) is resolved perfectly through the intercession of the Blessed Mother and all of the angelic powers,” he said. “St. Michael the Archangel is a patron of Ukraine and we pray to him, especially, and we ask for his divine intervention as well.”

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