Diocese of Lake Charles
LAKE CHARLES — In union with Pope Francis and thousands of bishops around the world, Bishop Glen John Provost led the faithful of the Diocese of Lake Charles in praying for peace and an end to war between Russia and Ukraine on Friday, March 25. It was standing room only in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for the historic global event.
Pope Francis had appealed to bishops everywhere to join him on the Solemnity of the Annunciation in consecrating humanity, particularly Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Pope’s request was in response to the war and at the request of the Blessed Virgin Mary made in an apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917.
Toward the end of the 12:05 p.m. Mass, Bishop Provost prayed the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary while kneeling in front of the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Joining the Bishop were Father Rommel Tolentino, Rector of the Cathedral; Deacon Patrick Lapoint, Sr.; and Father Samuel Bond, Master of Ceremonies.
In his homily, Bishop Provost reflected on the dangerous times we find ourselves and how our youth never saw the horrors of world war, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, or even the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan.
“Now, every day, we are made aware of the sufferings of refugees, the murderous invasion of Ukraine, and the attempts of governments to stem the expansion of war to the entire world,” he said. “What we need now is God. Without Him we are lost.”
Bishop Provost added that he was struck by the faith of the refugees.
“The bishops of Ukraine have told their priests to remain at their churches and to attend to the needs of the people. The refugees and those who stay behind are seen praying, even under dire circumstances,” Bishop continued.
He reminded the faithful that it was at the Annunciation when the Word entered human history through the assent of a humble virgin, “full of grace.”
“The ‘Word,’ St. John tells us, ‘was with God’ (John 1:1). As a matter of fact, ‘...the Word was God’ (John 1:1) This Word is Jesus Christ. Mary points the way for us to God,” said Bishop Provost.
He added, “What does Mary tell us? Trust in God. Fear is useless. What is needed is trust, for all things are possible with God.”
It is common for Catholics to turn to Mary in troubled times.
Doodle East, 85, of Lake Charles, said being a part of the Act of Consecration was a blessing and something she felt she had to do.
“We all need to pray so that we can have peace and for Ukraine. I had tears in my eyes when the bishop gave me communion,” she said. “I was young during World War II, but I remember the day the bells rang signaling that the war was over.”
East did not think she would ever see the possibility of another war in her lifetime.
“It is unbelievable the things that are going on in our country. Everyone needs to turn to the Blessed Mother and pray the rosary. I love my rosary and pray it several times daily,” she said.
Samantha Armentor said it was a monumental moment in history for the bishops of the world to come together and for the Pope to try to follow Mary’s Peace Plan from Heaven.
“I really wanted to be a part of the Church being more united in prayer,” said Armentor. “As we were reciting the Act of Consecration, I thought about when popes in the past did some form of consecration to Mary, according to Fatima, and how that impacted history.”
Armentor said she felt peace and hope even though we do not always see the fruit of our prayers. “There are so many countries where Christians are persecuted. How is this going to change not only us but the entire world?”
Mia Primeaux said it was important for her to attend the Mass and consecration as a remembrance of her mother, Dorrie Sheehan.
“My mother had a special devotion to the Blessed Mother. She died on the Feast of the Annunciation,” said Primeaux. “Today is the seventh anniversary of her death. I am wearing her necklace.”
Even at the young age of 11, Paige Veronie, a student at Welsh Elementary School who attended the Mass with her parents, understands the significance of the Blessed Mother in her life.
“I love the Blessed Virgin Mary. I devoted myself to her when I was 8 years old,” said Veronie. “For her to want a big country like Russia to be converted by our prayers is a big deal for me. When I am upset or hurt, I go to Mary because she is always my comfort.”
The Cathedral remained open throughout the day for people to pray and venerate the Fatima statue. Copies of the Act of Consecration were available for anyone to pray individually as they were able.
NOTE: Click here for a copy of the prayer for the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart Mary.