Letter of the Holy Father to All the Bishops of the Church
On the feast of Our Lady’s Immaculate Conception, on Dec. 8, 1983, Pope John Paul II personally wrote to every Catholic Bishop asking them to join him on March 25, 1984 in consecrating the world to Mary. This letter was made public in London, England on Feb. 10, 1984. On Feb. 14, 1984 in Washington, D.C., the National Conference of Catholic Bishops publicized this important letter from the Pope.
We publish here below the complete text of this letter together with the Pope’s Act of Consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This text was furnished to The Fatima Crusader in the last week of February by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in Ottawa. This same text was published on February 27, 1984 in the weekly English edition of L’Osservatore Romano.
Dear Brothers In The Episcopal Ministry,
On 25 March 1983 we began the extraordinary Jubilee of the Redemption. l thank you once again for uniting yourselves with me in the inauguration, on that same day, of the Year of the Redemption in your Dioceses. The Solemnity of the Annunciation, which in the course of the liturgical year recalls the beginning of the work of the Redemption in the history of humanity, seemed to be a particularly appropriate time for that inauguration.
This beginning is linked with Advent, and the whole of the present Year of the Redemption has in a certain sense the character of an advent, in that the year two thousand since the birth of Christ is drawing near. We live in this time of waiting for the fulfillment of the second millennium of the Christian era, sharing the difficult and painful experiences of the peoples, indeed of all humanity in the contemporary world.
From these experiences is born a particular need, in a certain sense an interior imperative, to direct ourselves with renewed intensity of faith precisely to the Redemption of Christ, to its inexhaustible salvific power. “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself … and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19). The Synod of Bishops which took place last October drew our attention in this same direction.
On this present day, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Church meditates on the salvific power of the Redemption of Christ in the conception of the Woman destined to be the Mother of the Redeemer. In this there is a further stimulus in order that, in the context of the Jubilee, in the face of the threats to contemporary humanity which have their roots in sin, there be made a more intense appeal to the power of the Redemption. If the way to overcoming sin passes through conversion, then the beginning of this way and likewise its successive stage can only be in the profession of the infinite salvific power of the Redemption.
My Dear Brothers!
In the context of the Holy Year of the Redemption, I desire to profess this power together with you and with the whole Church. I desire to profess it through the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God, who in a most particular degree experienced this salvific power. The words of the Act of consecration and entrusting which I enclose, correspond, with a few small changes, to those which I pronounced at Fatima of 13 May 1982. I am profoundly convinced that the repetition of this Act in the course of the Jubilee Year of the Redemption corresponds to the expectations of many human hearts, which wish to renew to the Virgin Mary the testimony of their devotion and to entrust to Her their sorrows at the many different ills of the present time, their fears of the menaces that brood over the future, their preoccupations for peace and justice in the individual nations and in the whole world.
The most fitting date for this common witness seems to be the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord during Lent 1984. I would be grateful if on that day (24 March, on which the Marian Solemnity is liturgically anticipated, or on 25 March, the Third Sunday of Lent) you would renew this Act together with me, choosing the way which each of you considers most appropriate.
In fraternal charity
Pope John Paul II
From the Vatican, 8 December 1983.