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POPE'S CONSECRATION FOLLOWS THAT OF PREDECESSORS IN ASKING FOR PROTECTION OF 'EVERYONE' AND NOT SINGLING OUT RUSSIA

It was a busy weekend in Rome, when it comes to mysticism.

There was Fatima.

The main statue from that place of famous apparitions was transported to the Vatican and received by the Pope, who prayed before it.

The next day, Sunday (10/13/13), he consecrated all people to her Immaculate Heart, the fourth Pope to conduct such a consecration (the preceding ones were Pius XII, Paul VI, and John Paul II).

He didn't specifically mention Russia, as his predecessors also did not (in 1917 the message from Fatima predicted that there would be a consecration of Russia, followed by a halt to that nation's reign of terror), but Sister Lucia had said the last consecration by John Paul II in 1984 had fulfilled the request and that the results were seen in the break up of the Soviet Union. More on that in a moment.

There was Akita: this site in Japan was officially named as one of ten shrines around the world invited to participate in a Marian weekend. That's significant because Akita involved dramatic messages about the future and a weeping statue. Its final message was on October 13, 1973.

There was Medjugorje, the as-yet unapproved apparition site in Bosnia-Hercegovina: although it wasn't named on the official list, it too was invited to participate and the pastor of the local church along with thirty-five villagers represented it. A commission continues its investigation. During the weekend, three bishops and an archbishop concelebrated Mass at the apparition site. (There is no word yet on Francis' view of it.)

Meanwhile, nearly 200,000 gathered at Fatima.

It is not yet clear why Francis chose to renew the Consecration -- though it probably can be attributed to his strong Marian devotion, including to Fatima.

In fact, upon ascendancy, Francis consecrated his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima.

A specific mention of Russia would perhaps have been a masterstroke in healing any initial rifts with those who are unnerved by some of his recent comments and have long demanded specific mention of Russia.

It was twelve years after the formal apparition that Sister Lucia said she had received additional communication from Heaven requesting the Pope to make the consecration mentioned in the second 1917 secret and it added more specifics, including that it be done in concert with the world's bishops.

There are many fascinating aspects of the consecrations and their histories.

A largely unknown one: it was the Portuguese bishops, acting on the original Fatima request, who asked Pope Pius XI to consecrate the world (with no specific mention of Russia) to the Immaculate Heart in 1938. Apparently he did not get a chance or chose not to act on that request.

This apparently kicked off the trend of consecrating the world instead of mentioning Russia in particular.

Was it because -- geopolitically -- there was worry about singling out that nation? Or simply that the Popes have considered an act mentioning the whole world as obviously including Russia? Is it because a consecration was not requested in the formal Fatima message in the 1917 secrets but rather just predicted there -- and that the request came privately years later to Lucia? Might the prediction of consecration be fulfilled one day by those in Russia itself, where even the leader is now openly proclaiming Christianity?

Astonishingly, in 1940 Sister Lucia wrote the next Pope, Pius XII, saying, "In 1929, through another apparition, Our Lady asked for the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, promising its conversion through this means and the hindering of the propagation of its errors. Sometime afterwards I told my confessor of the request of our Lady. He tried to fulfill it by making it known to Pius XI. In several intimate communications our Lord has not stopped insisting on this request, promising lately, to shorten the days of tribulation which He has determined to punish the nations for their crimes, through war, famine and several persecutions of the Holy Church and Your Holiness, if you will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with a special mention for Russia, and order that all the Bishops of the world do the same in union with Your Holiness."

She said the consecrations up to 1984 had not fulfilled all the requests. In that 1984 consecration, John Paul II -- who himself saw a sun miracle while recovering from the attempt on his life --  consecrated "the whole world, especially the peoples for which by reason of their situation you have particular love and solicitude."

Apparently, that was enough to do it; it not only referred to Russia, but was done "united with the pastors of the world."

Many argue that the request still has not be fulfilled.

In the latest consecration, Francis did not mention the "world" but rather "everyone" and "all of us."

Here is a timeline, provided by a Catholic television network, of what occurred after the March 25, 1984 Consecration:

May 13, 1984

One of the largest crowds in Fatima history gathers at the shrine to pray the Rosary for peace.

May 13, 1984

An explosion at the Sovietsí Severomorsk Naval Base destroys two-thirds of all the missiles stockpiled for the Sovietsí Northern Fleet. The blast also destroys workshops needed to maintain the missiles as well as hundreds of scientists and technicians. Western military experts called it the worst naval disaster the Soviet Navy has suffered since WWII.

December 1984

Soviet Defense Minister, mastermind of the  invasion plans for Western Europe, suddenly and mysteriously dies.

March 10, 1985

Soviet Chairman Konstantin Chernenko dies

March 11, 1985

Soviet Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev elected

April 26, 1986

Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident

May 12, 1988

An explosion wrecked the only factory that made the rocket motors for the Sovietsí deadly SS 24 long-range missiles, which carry ten nuclear bombs each.

August 29, 1989

Sr. Lucia affirms in correspondence that the consecration "has been accomplished" and that "God will keep His word."

November 9, 1989

Fall of the Berlin Wall

Nov-Dec 1989

Peaceful revolutions in Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania

1990

East and West Germany are unified

December 25, 1991

Dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

[Photo at top: the crowds at sun miracle in 1917]

[resources: Memories of Sister Lucia and Fatima Is Forever]

[Retreats: Indiana and North Carolina]

[Print article]

[Pope Francis' consecration: "Holy Mary Virgin of Fatima, with renewed gratitude for your maternal presence we join our voice to that of all the generations who call you blessed. We celebrate in you the works of God, who never tires of looking down with mercy upon humanity, afflicted with the wound of sin, to heal it and save it. Accept with the benevolence of a Mother the act of consecration that we perform today with confidence, before this image of you that is so dear to us. We are certain that each of us is precious in your eyes and that nothing of all that lives in our hearts is unknown to you. We let ourselves be touched by your most sweet regard and we welcome the consoling caress of your smile. Hold our life in your arms: bless and strengthen every desire for good; revive and nourish faith; sustain and enlighten hope; awaken and animate charity; guide all of us along the path of holiness. Teach us your own preferential love for the little and the poor, for the excluded and the suffering, for sinners and the downhearted: bring everyone under your protection and entrust everyone to your beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus. Amen."]

      

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