25 march, 2020
“In this particular hour of distress, receive those who have died, encourage those who consecrate themselves to You and renew the universe and all mankind”
Consecration embraced 22 countries whose Bishops joined the Portuguese and Spanish prelates
Today, in Fatima, Cardinal António Marto presided over the celebration of the consecration of Portugal and Spain to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, asking for their help and protection in this moment of tribulation we are currently experiencing.
In this solemn day in which the Church is celebrating the Annunciation to Mary that She would be Jesus’ Mother, the Portuguese and Spanish Bishops have asked for Her intercession for the “direct and indirect victims” of this pandemic that hits us; for the “authorities seeking to find solutions” and for “all of us and our families”.
“The pilgrim Church on earth, in Portugal and Spain, nations which are Yours, looks to Your open side, its fountain of salvation, and beg You: in this particular hour of distress, watch over Your Church, inspire the leaders of the nations, listen to the poor and the afflicted, exalt the humble and the oppressed, heal the sick and the sinners, raise up those who are bowed down and disheartened, release captives and prisoners and deliver us from the pandemic which besets us”, Cardinal António Marto stated at the prayer of consecration of Portugal and Spain, joined also by Albania, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, East Timor, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Kenya, Mexico, Moldova, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, many of them with a close bond with Fatima and its Message.
To the Heart of Jesus Christ, “healer of souls”, Cardinal António Marto asked for a sustaining and comforting “embrace” for “the children, the elderly and the most vulnerable, physicians, nurses, healthcare professionals and voluntary caregivers”, as well as asking for reinforcement “in fellowship and solidarity”.
“During the prayer, kneeling before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima worshiped at the Little Chapel, which was present at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima for this occasion, the Portuguese Cardinal invoked the Little Shepherd Saints, buried here, who themselves were victims of a pandemic. Especially Saint Jacinta, of whom we are celebrating the death centenary, who experienced the solitude in hospital during her last moments of life”.
“By consecrating ourselves to Your Sacred Heart, the Church is entrusted to the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, configured to the light of Your Paschal Mystery and revealed here to the three children as the refuge and way leading to Your Heart. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, be the Health of the Sick and the Refuge of Your disciples born at the foot of the Cross of Your love”, Cardinal António Marto continued. The prayer ended with a request: “In this particular hour of distress, receive those who have died, encourage those who consecrate themselves to You and renew the universe and all mankind. Amen”.
The rosary was prayed in Portuguese, Spanish, English and Polish, and all the Portuguese and Spanish dioceses were truly united in praying the rosary for the intentions of all the world. Even though the consecration was prepared for the two Iberian Peninsula countries, in this last two days 22 more episcopal conferences from all continents, as well as numberless faithful from all over the world, have joined this prayer from Fatima, broadcast live on countless television channels, on open signal and cable, on radio and Internet channels, in a partnership between the Shrine of Fatima and TV Canção Nova. The Shrine of Fatima’s YouTube channel was followed live and permanently by 49 thousand subscribers.
The Portuguese initiative followed a request made by a group of laypeople which collected thousands of signatures, directed to the President of the Episcopal Conference of Portugal, which then consulted all the Portuguese Bishops who met this request, entrusting Cardinal António Marto with reciting the prayer.
On October 20, 2019, the Catholic Portuguese Bishops consecrated the Catholic Church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, at the closing Mass of the Missionary Year in the Shrine of Fatima, also marking 175 years of the presence of the Apostleship of Prayer in Portugal.
The first consecration of Portugal to the Immaculate Heart of Mary took place on May 13, 1931, eight months after the official recognition of the apparitions by the Bishop of Leiria, at the end of the first national pilgrimage of the Portuguese episcopate to Fatima.
Thirty-six years ago Pope St. John Paul II consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary before the first statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. This statue, venerated at the Little Chapel (and celebrating the 100th anniversary this year) travelled to the Vatican on that occasion, leaving Cova da Iria for the seventh time.
The Pontiff that most visited Fatima, answering the appeals of the Message of Fatima, decided to make an act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, on March 25, 1984, one year after the Holy Year of Redemption had begun.