Stefano Cecchin is the President of the International Pontifical Marian Academy and a leading expert on the Virgin Mary. He will be at the Fatima shrine for the consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a significant site in the history of Marian consecration.

The Russian Revolution and the first World War were the context behind the 1917 apparitions in Fatima. Mary revealed herself and asked the Pope for this consecration. Since then, several popes have done it many times: Pius XII, John Paul II…They consecrated Russia, the world, the Church and even the period of the coronavirus to the Sacred Heart of Mary.

In different ways, Russia has been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary several times. Now, Pope Francis wants to do it again. He has asked all bishops to participate in this ceremony on March 25 in Rome, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima and around the whole world.

The whole Church will do it together because, like Jesus said, where two or more are gathered in His name, He is in their midst. Unity is strength and when we ask for a favor together, the intercession is stronger. We must work together. We will not be islands anymore.

But the President of the International Pontifical Marian Academy warns that this consecration is not an act of war or a show of support for any countries involved in the fighting in Ukraine.

We do not ask for victory of one or the other. We ask the Mother of God, our mother, as a good mother, to seek peace for her family. Because today, Pope Francis teaches that the world is one family. We are the common home. We don’t ask for victory for anyone. Absolutely not. But for peace for all.

Peace is the driving force of this consecration. And this ceremony shows the whole Church is united in prayer for peace.