“This is an extraordinary day – a day in which we gather as a local Church in union with our holy father, Pope Francis, in Rome,” said Bishop Edward Malesic during his homily at the noon Mass on March 25, the solemnity of the Annunciation. (See photo gallery above.)
That afternoon, the pope led an act of consecration of the world – most especially Russia and Ukraine – to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
As the pope led the universal Church in the consecration and a prayer for peace, the bishop said the faithful in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland added their prayers to consecrate humanity to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Mother. He knelt before a statue of the Blessed Mother and recited the prayer of consecration during Mass. Looking on were about 20 members of the diocesan presbyteral council who concelebrated the liturgy.
“We come together on this special day dedicated to the faithfulness of Mary, who offered herself in complete sacrifice to God’s plan for salvation of the whole world. God’s plan is for our peace and unity,” the bishop said, adding, “Jesus came to be the peace of the world.”
Mary brought his peace to the world at Jesus’ birth and she stayed by his side until his death. She was the one who had the persuasive power to ask him to perform his first miracle at Cana, he said.
“As the preeminent saint of heaven, Mary continues to be at the side of her son, interceding for all of us today. She asks that our hearts and minds be changed so that we will be people who live in the peace of her son and people who bring the peace of her son to the world,” Bishop Malesic said. “As Jesus himself said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.’ God does not want his children to be at war.”
The invasion of Ukraine is a pain that is carried by all of us who are witnessing this terror, he said. Yet, amid all this, we witness the courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people and the welcome given by those in surrounding countries to the refugees fleeing their homeland.
“In a special way today, we ask our Blessed Mother, Mary, Queen of Peace, to intercede for us with God that he grant an end to this and all war,” the bishop said.
The Lord instructs us to pray for our enemies, including the enemies of Ukraine, he said, adding,
“We pray for their conversion of heart. We pray that the stop the hatred and violence.”