From Khmer to Malayalam, the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary done in many languages
Pope Francis’ call for peace between Russia and Ukraine and throughout the world was done in many languages in Asia. The expression of closeness to the victims of the war in Europe echoes the many conflicts in Asia, from Myanmar to the Philippines.
Milan (AsiaNews) – Churches in Asia experienced with great intensity last Friday’s consecration of the world, in particular Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Despite different time zones, many dioceses accepted the invitation to join the pope in prayer at the same time as he led the solemn act in St Peter's Basilica.
In order to encourage global participation of the faithful, the Vatican posted a prayer written by Pope Francis in 36 languages, including many languages spoken in Asia.
In addition to Hindi and Chinese, the prayer was available in Korean, Thai, Farsi, Malayalam (language spoken in Kerala), Japanese (edited by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan to standardise some terms commonly used by Japanese Catholics).
In other places, local Churches provided the translation; for example, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Apostolic Vicar Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler together with a group of faithful prayed the rosary and the act consecration in Khmer at the shrine of Our Lady of the Mekong River, Queen of Peace.
In Nazareth, at the Basilica of the Annunciation, where, according to an ancient tradition, the angel’s announcement to Mary took place, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, performed the act of consecration at the end of the solemn Mass.
“Here in the Holy Land, we know what war is,” the prelate said, “we feel how it enters people’s hearts and becomes a way of thinking, creates deep divisions and frustration, erects physical and human walls, destroys prospects for trust, vision and peace.
“Precisely because of this, because we know what it all means, because we have experienced it on our skin, we will pray for those peoples, for their rulers and above all for the little ones of the Gospel, the mothers, the children, the elderly left homeless, alone, at the mercy of incomprehensible violence, dictated by human calculations that are narrow-minded and without perspective.
“May the Virgin of Nazareth, who became the Mother of Jesus here in this place, intercede for them and for all those in the world who are suffering these same situations.”
In his address on this occasion, Archbishop Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon looked at the wounds that offend Ukraine and brutalise Myanmar.
“As Pope Francis consecrates Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” he tweeted, “we also join the prayer of consecration and our complete trust in the Virgin Mary in the midst of the escalation of the conflict and the threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction in Myanmar.”
In Mumbai (India), a service was held at 9.30 pm at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount (Mount Mary Church) to coincide with Pope Francis’s act at the Vatican. About 80 religious men and women as well as lay people joined the prayer led by Auxiliary Bishop John Rodrigues, who is the shrine’s rector.
In his homily, the prelate invited the faithful not to give in to despair, but, as Saint Paul urges, to “look into themselves” and convert their hearts. He prayed that religious and world leaders may come together on the path of peace.
For his part, Card Oswald Gracias led a 30-minute Eucharistic adoration that was broadcast live on the archdiocese's YouTube channel.
In a letter to the archdiocese, he called on the faithful to “join the Holy Father in his prayers to bring peace to a world that is seeing more and more violence, and in this war that threatens to engulf other countries in a spiral of violence.”
In the Philippines, Archbishop Cardinal José Advincula of Manila led a celebration at 6 pm in the cathedral to which many ambassadors had been invited. At midnight local time, in parallel with the pope in the Vatican, a prayer took place in individual parishes.
"We are gathered here,” the prelate said, “to mourn the lives torn by the madness of man in many wars, including in our beloved Philippines. We are united in contrition, asking for God's forgiveness and mercy so that we may really learn to behave with one another as brothers and sisters.”
(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)