by Father Sean Danda on May 15, 2022

Dear Parish Family:

Below is a beautiful reflection that I want to share with you from a faithful parishioner, Sarah Stephens.  I was moved by her testimony and felt it was worthwhile to pass on to you.  Have a blessed Mothers' Day! 

In Jesus, through Mary and St. Joseph,

Father Danda


On March 25th, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, our holy father, Pope Francis, along with the bishops, clergy and Catholics around the world, consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  

Until recently, I had no idea how significant this was or even what a “consecration” was, meant or where the idea of “consecrating” Russia came from. A “consecration,” as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is “the action of making or declaring sacred; to devote irrevocably to the worship of God by a solemn ceremony.”  Think of how the books, vessels and vestments are “consecrated” for use in the Mass. 

 The consecration of Russia at this time comes more than a century after Our Blessed Mother appeared in Fatima, Portugal and made this request. 

 In 1917, the Great War was looming over the world. Pope Benedict XV invited the world to pray the rosary inviting Our Lady’s intercession for the end of the violence, hatred and destruction. Within days of this request, Mary appeared to three young children in Fatima with a message.

 Our Lady asked the children to pray for the conversion of sinners and to do penance for the ways people had offended God. She told them that war is an effect of people’s sins and lack of love for God. Mary also warned that another, greater war would follow.  

 She asked the Pope and all the faithful to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart; if not, Russia would “spread its errors” around the world. This could mean many things but is generally believed to mean the budding atheistic communism in Russia at the time.

 Mary suggested that God wants to use Russia for His divine purpose and will and that everything profane in Russia should fall away. This is a beautiful and high calling!

 Yet, the consecration of Russia was not the only thing Our Lady requested. She also asked every person to be individually consecrated to her Immaculate Heart. Our Lady gave the children three other requirements:

  1. Repentance of sin;
  2. Pray the Rosary daily; and
  3. Attend five consecutive First Saturday Devotions by praying the rosary, receiving the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation, and spending fifteen minutes meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary as reparation for sins against her Immaculate Heart. 

 Fatima became more than a story when I visited the World War One Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. I learned there that more than 70,000 people witnessed what is now known as the Miracle of the Sun. The children asked Our Lady for a sign that the apparitions were really her and suddenly the sun spun, changed colors and hurled towards the earth before returning to its place. Many people thought they would die; the experience was so intense. Many were not believers and professed atheists who came to faith that day. It was reported in headlines of newspapers around the world. 

 Unfortunately, Russia was not consecrated back then and the devastation of World War II followed. With the current events in Ukraine, the Blessed Mother’s requests become stronger and more urgent than ever. 

 I was thankful to see so many participate in the consecration on March 25th, and I hope we will all remember Mary’s other requests to consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart as well. As we enter this month of May, the month dedicated to the Blessed Mother, we have an opportunity to draw closer to her and her divine Son Jesus. By consecrating ourselves to her Immaculate Heart, praying the rosary, and making five First Saturday Devotions, we may bring greater peace to the world through God’s will.


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