(RoyalPatriot.com )- Pope Francis offered prayers for peace in Ukraine during a special consecration ceremony on Friday that harkened back to a century-old prophecy about peace and Russia that was sparked by three children’s visions of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
The pope invited bishops, priests, and faithful around the world to join him in a consecration prayer for Russia and Ukraine at St. Peter’s Basilica where he said that humanity has “forgotten the lessons learned” from the world wars in the last century.
The pope prayed that the world would be free from war and the “menace of nuclear weapons.”
Retired Pope Benedict XVI participated in the consecration from his home in the Vatican gardens while a papal envoy celebrated a simultaneous service at the shrine of Fatima.
According to tradition, in 1917, three Portuguese children said the Virgin Mary had appeared to them six times and shared with them three secrets. The first two secrets described an apocalyptic image of hell, foretold the end of the First World War and the start of World War Two, and predicted the rise and fall of Soviet Communism.
In 2000, the Vatican finally disclosed the long-awaited third secret Mary shared with the children, namely the death of the pope. The Vatican said that this prophecy was a foretelling of the May 1981 attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.
In his homily Friday, the pope said the act of consecration for Russia and Ukraine to Mary’s immaculate heart was “not a magic formula, but a spiritual act” that is happening as bombs fall on Ukraine.
Some Catholics said the pope’s pronunciation of Russia in the prayer, along with his invitation for all bishops to join him, fulfills the Fatima prophecy.
Andrii Yurash, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See, described the consecration as another attempt to defend Ukraine “from the devil’s war.”
Shortly after Francis announced the planned consecration prayer, Patriarch Kirill said he was inviting the Russian Orthodox to direct prayers to Mary as well. While Kirill has called for peace in Ukraine, he has also indicated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was justified, describing Russians and Ukrainians as “one people” in a “metaphysical” battle.