Bishops in the United States — including Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne — took part in Pope Francis’ invitation to join him in a moment of prayer, consecrating Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary March 25, entrusting the people of both countries to the care and protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On that day, the students and faculty of Christ the King School in Burlington gathered in the gym to pray for the Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“Friends, we are all deeply disturbed by the war in Ukraine, and the unconscionable attacks on innocent men, women, and children in their homes and neighborhoods,” said Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a separate video message. “In this time when our world is weighed down under the shadow of war, I invite you to enter into this solemn moment of prayer with the Holy Father,” the archbishop said. “Together with him, let us ask our Blessed Mother to turn her eyes of mercy toward all her children. Let us ask her to intercede with her son, to deliver her children from evil and grant us peace.”

Father John Broussard, of the Fathers of Mercy and rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin, explained what consecration means in a March 18 statement. “To consecrate something is the act of setting it apart for our Lord and, furthermore, to consecrate it to our Blessed Mother is to deliberately put that intention into her hands,” he said.