Taras arrived from Lviv a week ago with his wife and daughter. He is one of the Ukrainians who pray the rosary in front of the Church of the Apparitions, on the cloudy afternoon when the Pope decided to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to Our Lady of Fatima. He prays with confidence: “I believe God can do everything,” he says, a creed shared by other Ukrainians, like him, at Fatima yesterday.
We are charged with flags, colorful dots in the sanctuary where a few thousand pilgrims gather, far from the floods on the busiest days, but more than usual on weekdays. Pietro and Natalia, who have lived in Madrid for 20 years, hit the road at dawn to be present. With them, their aunt Irina, who lived in Ternopil, also in the western part of Ukraine, who decided to flee. There, Pietro has his 73-year-old mother, who refuses to leave. He told him, “If I have to die, I shall die in my house.” “Every phone call I ask to come but she doesn’t come. It has become a matter of discussion.”
They are Catholics, while Taras are Orthodox, united in prayer and in last hope they perform in the prayer called by the Pope, but also in revolution: “We only want peace but there will be no miracle overnight,” he says. Natalia, moved after the moment when they prayed in Ukrainian at the shrine, the Our Father followed and greeted Mary in Russian. “I am a Christian and I cannot wish for someone to die unless God enlightens them,” says Pietro. The problem is pride, but pride can destroy the earth. It is necessary to stop.”
In the Vatican, Francis denounced the brutal war and the feeling of powerlessness and went straight to the interpretation of the act: to renew the consecration of the Church, of all humanity and especially of the Ukrainian people and the Russian people. If there were any doubts, the idea that the Pope decided, in the face of the invasion of Ukraine, to make an act of consecration to Russia of Our Lady of Fatima, and to fulfill the prophecy left by the young shepherds 100 years ago as reported by Sister Lucia, receded, with prayer preparations in St. Peter’s Basilica beside Portuguese portrait permanently in Rome. At the sanctuary of Fatima, the celebration was presided over by Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski at Capelinha das Aparições. Before the ceremony, the cardinal, who on Saturday left Fatima for Ukraine in an ambulance provided by the Pope, said that by the act of consecration, the aim was to “exorcise the demons of war”. Catholics have a “complex weapon: prayer, fasting, almsgiving. I invite you to use this weapon and you will see that we have a miracle,” he added in an intervention at the Paulo VI Center, where the conference was being held in the 375th year of Nossa Senhora da Conceição as a saint of Portugal.
This was the Pope’s thirteenth consecration to the Virgin, a request that goes back according to Lucia’s accounts to the apparition of July 13, when the little shepherds were entrusted with the secret that the sister would reveal to the church as an adult. Without dedication, Russia will spread errors all over the world. In the text of the prayer, Francis shows that he fears the worst, and asks Our Lady to protect the world from the nuclear threat.
38 years ago, on March 25, 1984, John Paul II dedicated humanity to Fatima but did not explicitly mention the Soviet Union, which over the years sparked controversy over the extent to which the request was met, which Lucia interpreted as guaranteed. . Described as a bold decision with the ability to elicit a response from the Orthodox Church, while the Moscow Patriarch has already publicly demonstrated his support for Putin, it remains one of the landmark initiatives of Francis, who is 85 years old. Appeals to move to Ukraine. Last week, a portrait of Our Lady of Fatima, the thirteenth and the only one not present in the shrine, was sent to Lviv.