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In reviewing many documents over the last few days, I have determined this question is actually a lot more complicated than it may seem at first glance. There have been a number of consecrations of both Russia and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, made by different popes (including several by Pope Pius XII and St. John Paul II, and one by Pope Francis on Oct. 13, 2013) and according to Sr. Lucia of Fatima, the 1984 consecration by St. John Paul II satisfied the request Heaven made in 1929 for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

In the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s “The Message of Fatima,” released June 26, 2000, as part of the Holy See’s official publication and interpretation of the secret of Fatima, we read (emphasis added):

Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished (“Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984”: “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984”: Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.

In Fatima for Todayby world-renowned expert on Fatima Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR (Ignatius Press, 2010), pages 193-199 and in Appendix C, he lays out evidence that St. John Paul II understood the consecration requested by Our Lady to have taken place, in large part because Sr. Lucia confirmed it repeatedly in letters and to Fr. Luis Kondor, the vice-postulator for the causes of Sts. Jacinta and Francisco. 

Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, follows this line in his The Second Greatest Story Ever Told(Marian Press, 2015), Chapter 8. Here’s his discussion of whether or not the 1984 consecration counted:

On March 25, 1984, in St. Peter’s Square, with a crowd of about 200,000 of the faithful, with numerous bishops and cardinals present, in union with all the bishops throughout the world, and before the Fatima Shrine statue of Our Lady, Pope John Paul II solemnly consecrated the world and Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart as had been requested by Our Lady of Fatima. However, unfortunately, because the Pope did not explicitly say “Russia” in his public prayer, choosing instead to use veiled references as Pius XII had done, some have argued that it did not count.

But it did count because the Pope clearly implied Russia when he said, “In a special way we entrust and consecrate to you those individuals and nationsthat particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated.” He clearly intended to consecrate Russia, as did the bishops, who undoubtedly understood the implication. 

After the ceremony, when he was thanked for consecrating “the world,” John Paul himself added, “and Russia.” This point of including Russia was deeply meaningful to him, because his own home country, Poland, was still suffering behind the Iron Curtain. In fact, many have speculated that during the several pauses John Paul made while reciting the World Consecration and the Triumph consecration prayer, he was probably bringing this intention of his heart even more directly to Our Lady, namely, his prayer for the collapse of Soviet Communism. 

Still, the rumors persisted: “Did the consecration really count? Had the Pope actually done what was required?” To quell these rumors and set the record straight, Sr. Lucia gave her own opinion, in writing, on August 29, 1989:

Afterward [Pope John Paul II] wrote to all the bishops of the world asking them to unite themselves to him. He had the statue of Our Lady of Fatima [from the Cova da Iria chapel] brought to Rome on March 25, 1984. Then publicly, in union with those bishops who wished to associate themselves with His Holiness, he made the consecration in the way in which the Blessed Virgin had wished that it should be made. Afterward people asked me if it was made in the way our Lady wanted, and I replied: “Yes.” From that time, it is made!

Before reading this clear statement of Sr. Lucia, I still had questions of my own about the consecration, and so I asked one of the experts from the World Apostolate of Fatima why the 1984 consecration emphasized “the world” more than Russia. This was the insightful response I received:

If Russia had been consecrated as Our Lady had asked back in 1917, then Communism would have been nipped in the bud and World War II never would have happened. Instead, because of the consecration’s long delay, World War II did happen and Russia did spread her errors of atheism and Communism throughout the world. Therefore, by 1984, not just Russia but the whole worldneeded to be consecrated. So, John Paul explicitly consecrated “the world” as well as “nations that particularly need to be thus entrusted and consecrated,” which would include nations such as China and North Korea that certainly needed to be consecrated as well.

This response raises an important point: The consecration was made, but it was made late, as Mary herself had said. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect things to turn out as they would have had the consecration been done back in the early 20th century. After all, our Lord wants the response of faith, and when faith isn’t put into action, miracles don’t happen, or they’re lessened. Think, for example, of Our Lady of Fatima’s words regarding the October 13th Miracle of the Sun, which waslessenedbecause of the actions of the faithless civil authorities, who imprisoned Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. Mary told Lucia, “Had they not taken you to [prison], the miracle would have been greater.”

As Fr. Apostoli points out, Our Lady did not ask for one thing alone to secure the conversion of Russia and peace in the world, but two: the consecration of Russia and the First Saturdays devotion(pg. 255). 

Further, the First Saturdays are not simply to be done once in a set of five — the Five First Saturdays merely secure for an individual Our Lady’s assistance at the time of death. Rather, the First Saturdays are to be an ongoing act made by the faithful, the remnant holding back the wrath of God in the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, the Body of Christ making reparation on behalf of the world and thus securing the world’s conversion, sanctification, and peace. 

The evidence would seem to support that the consecration has been made; the First Saturdays have been neglected.And both are needed for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, as is made clear in the second part of the secret of Fatima (emphasis added):

I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requestsare heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.

This, many believe, is the reason we have not yet seen the conversion of Russia. The conversion was dependent upon both the consecration and the Communions of reparation, not just the former. The Holy Father has done what only he could do. All of us in the laity, the clergy, and the religious life, on the other hand, still have work to do in order to fulfill Our Lady’s request. 

We understand that Fr. Gruner and the Fatima Center have always asserted that the consecration has not yet taken place. On this point, we stand with the Holy See. We trust the discernment of St. John Paul II; the assertion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (at the time under the leadership of then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) in the official document “The Message of Fatima,” released in 2000, that the consecration has been made; and the letters in which Sr. Lucia declared that Heaven had accepted it. 

The Holy See on the Consecration

Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s “The Message of Fatima,” June 26, 2000, Introduction:

[…] John Paul II, for his part, asked for the envelope containing the third part of the “secret” following the assassination attempt on 13 May 1981. On 18 July 1981 Cardinal Franjo Šeper, Prefect of the Congregation, gave two envelopes to Archbishop Eduardo Martínez Somalo, Substitute of the Secretariat of State: one white envelope, containing Sister Lucia's original text in Portuguese; the other orange, with the Italian translation of the “secret”. On the following 11 August, Archbishop Martínez returned the two envelopes to the Archives of the Holy Office. 

As is well known, Pope John Paul II immediately thought of consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and he himself composed a prayer for what he called an “Act of Entrustment”, which was to be celebrated in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major on 7 June 1981, the Solemnity of Pentecost, the day chosen to commemorate the 1600th anniversary of the First Council of Constantinople and the 1550th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus. Since the Pope was unable to be present, his recorded Address was broadcast. 

In order to respond more fully to the requests of “Our Lady”, the Holy Father desired to make more explicit during the Holy Year of the Redemption the Act of Entrustment of 7 May 1981, which had been repeated in Fatima on 13 May 1982. On 25 March 1984 in Saint Peter's Square, while recalling the fiat uttered by Mary at the Annunciation, the Holy Father, in spiritual union with the Bishops of the world, who had been “convoked” beforehand, entrusted all men and women and all peoples to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished (“Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984”: “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984”: Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.

Copyright © 2022 Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.

Published with permission.



The First Five Saturdays

On the 13th May 1917, Our Lady first mentioned devotion to her Immaculate Heart to the children of Fatima saying, “You have seen hell, where souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.  If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”On the 10th December 1925, Our Lady appeared to Lucia detailing how devotion to her Immaculate Heart was to be practiced.  

These words are from Sr. Lucia’s own account:

“… by her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was a child. The most holy Virgin rested her hand on her shoulder, and as she did so, she showed her a heart encircled by thorns, which she was holding in her other hand. At the same time, the Child said:

“Have compassion on the Heart of your most holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.”

Then the most holy Virgin said:

“Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”

How to Practice the First Five Saturday’s Devotion

- Confession:Make a good confession during the eight days prior to the first Saturday with the intention of offering reparation for the offences against Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.

- Communion. You should attend Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion with the intention of offering reparation for the offences against Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.

The Communion should be receivedon the first Saturday of the month.

The confession must be repeated for 5 consecutive months, without interruption, otherwise you must recommence from the beginning.
- Recite 5 decades of the Holy Rosarywith the intention of making reparation to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart

- Pray 15 minutes meditation on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Accompany Our Lady by meditating on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary.  This can be done by reading the biblical texts of the mysteries of the Holy Rosary slowly thinking of their content.  You could meditate on one mystery for 15 minutes at the end of the prayer as Sr Lucia did.  This meditation is in addition to the recitation of the Rosary.

 - Say the prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to conclude the devotion.

Why five Saturdays?

Our Lord told Sr Lucia that the five Saturdays represent the offences against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.“My daughter, the reason is simple. There are five types of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception;

2. Blasphemies against Her Virginity;

3. Blasphemies against Her Divine Maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognize Her as the Mother of men;

4. The blasphemies of those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children, indifference, or scorn or even hatred of this Immaculate Mother;

5. The offenses of those who outrage Her directly in Her holy images. Here, my daughter, is the reason why the Immaculate Heart of Mary inspired Me to ask for this little act of reparation. . (May 29,1930)

Sister Lucia clarified what should be done if confession cannot be made on the first Saturday of the month:“My Jesus! Many souls find it difficult to confess on Saturday. Will Thou allow a confession within eight days to be valid He replied:Yes. It can even be made later on, provided that the souls are in the state of grace when they receive Me on the First Saturday and that they had the intention of making reparation to the Sacred Heart of Mary. – My Jesus!And those who forget to form this intention? They can form it at the next confession, taking advantage of their first opportunity to go to confession.”(February 15, 1926)

During a revelation by Our Lord on the 29th May 1930, Sr Lucia clarified what one should do if all the conditions for the devotion, like the receipt of Holy Communion, could not be fulfilled on the first Saturday. Our Lord said: “The practice of this devotion will be equally accepted on the Sunday following the first Saturday, when, for just reasons, my priests will allow it.”

Our Lady promised that She would “assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation”the souls who make the first five Saturdays.  However, it is important that the desire to console Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart by making reparation and growing in holiness is the main motivation for the practice.  To underline this fact, 

Our Lord told Sr Lucia: “It is true, my daughter, that many souls begin the First Saturdays, but few finish them, and those who do complete them do so in order to receive the graces that are promised thereby. It would please me more if they did Five with fervor and with the intention of making reparation to the Heart of your heavenly Mother, than if they did Fifteen, in a tepid and indifferent manner…”(15th February 1926)


Follow this link to purchase our hard copy June newspaper edition which includes this article in full: https://weiblecolumns.org/shop/medjugorje-newsletter 
(Scroll to Weible Columns Monthly Newsletter, last item, June 2019 issue - Holy Land Pilgrimage)

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