Bishop Tylka leads Act of Consecration to Mary with students in Champaign

With Msgr. Stanley Deptula, pastor, kneeling to his left in front of the statue of Mary, and the students of St. Matthew School in Champaign filling the church, Bishop Louis Tylka prays the Act of Consecration of humanity, especially the nations of Ukraine and Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25. They were among Catholics from around the world praying with Pope Francis. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

CHAMPAIGN — Joining people around the world, Bishop Louis Tylka offered the Act of Consecration of the human family, especially the nations of Ukraine and Russia, not once but twice during a visit to St. Matthew School and St. John’s Catholic Newman Center on March 25.

The prayer at St. Matthew, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord, followed a rosary for all but the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in the church and was timed to take place at the same hour Pope Francis was consecrating the world to Mary in Rome.

Kneeling before the statue of Mary at St. Matthew Church in Champaign, Bishop Louis Tylka offers the Act of Consecration for humanity, especially the nations of Ukraine and Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25. The prayer was planned to take place at the same time Pope Francis was consecrating the world to Mary in Rome. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

At St. John’s Catholic Newman Center, the prayer came at the end of the regular 12:05 p.m. Mass in St. John’s Chapel. In his homily, Bishop Tylka acknowledged that there were many reasons to be fearful as people wonder if the war between Russia and Ukraine could escalate and lead to a Third World War.

“And yet, we hear in the Gospel do not be afraid. Do not be afraid,” Bishop Tylka said.

“What holds our fears? What helps us overcome our fears? Of course, the answer is Jesus Christ our Savior, the Prince of Peace,” he told those gathered for Mass.

The bishop said Mary’s fears were alleviated when the angel reminded her that God favored her and that the Holy Spirit would come upon her so that she could fulfill her role in salvation history by becoming the mother of the Prince of Peace.

“We need to look at that same message for us,” he said. “Do not be afraid, because with God all things are possible.”

PRAYER IS EFFECTIVE

Bishop Tylka said it was an important and powerful day in the life of the world as people came together in prayer “asking and imploring the Lord to calm our fears and send peace upon the face of the earth.”

We may feel inadequate in what is happening in Eastern Europe, but our prayer is happening here and it is not ineffective, he said.

“The joy of today, the joy of the news that Jesus would be born into our world to save us, that cannot be overcome by the darkness of war,” Bishop Tylka said. “The reality is that Jesus has come. Jesus has saved us. And Jesus will give us his love and peace.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: An archived video of the rosary service and Act of Consecration at St. Matthew Church is found here. More photos from the prayer service in Champaign have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.

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