Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, deputy for General Affairs at the Vatican Secretariat of State, criticized this Thursday the war situation in Ukraine, lamenting that “the banquet of humanity” lacks “the wine of fraternity and peace” .
In the homily of the Celebration of the Word, on the first day of the anniversary pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Fatima, the prelate recognized that, in today’s world, “selfishness and rancor often explode, as in this (…) and barbaric war, where there are neither winners nor losers, but only tears”.
In front of around 200,000 pilgrims present at the Sanctuary of Fatima – according to the institution’s services -, the archbishop of Venezuelan origin said that those tears are “like those of the Mother of God, who, as (…) ‘they are also a sign of God’s mourning for the victims of the war that not only destroys Ukraine; (…) it destroys all the peoples involved in the war. Everyone! Because war does not only destroy the defeated people, no, it also destroys the victor ; it even destroys those who observe it, with superficial news, to see who is the winner, who is the loser'”.
“Tonight we walk under the loving gaze of the Blessed Virgin Mary to find peace and new light in our hearts”, said Edgar Peña Parra, adding: “especially in the intimacy of this night, Our Lady of Fatima, in addition to constant prayer to ask for the gift of peace in Ukraine and throughout the world (…), we beg you to take each one of us under your mantle and guard our lives”.
Taking the theme of the Gospel, the wedding at Cana, the lack of wine that the episode relates and the intervention of the Virgin to overcome the situation, the archbishop warned that, “sometimes”, even those who think they have everything, “lacks the essential”.
“On the table of our life, we often lack deep motivations, the meaning of the things we live, the confidence to keep going. (…) We lack the wine of faith, when in the experiences of life we experience failure. and tiredness”, warned the president of the pilgrimage this Thursday and Friday to the Sanctuary of Fatima.
This is the first major pilgrimage without the restrictions imposed in the last two years by the covid-19 pandemic.
Thousands of pilgrims from north to south of the country made the way on foot to Cova da Iria, with the authorities admitting an influx “close to the usual in pre-pandemic years”, although with regard to the number of pilgrims on foot this pilgrimage still falls short of the 2019 numbers, as acknowledged to the Lusa agency responsible for the Movement of the Message of Fatima, which coordinates the Support Commission for Pilgrims on Foot.
The program of the first day of pilgrimage underwent some changes compared to what was usual before the pandemic, with the Eucharist being replaced by the celebration of the Word and the welcoming session in the Capelinha das Aparições, which traditionally, in the late afternoon, was suppressed. , marked the official beginning of the ceremonies.
The next dawn will be a vigil, with a Eucharistic procession scheduled in the prayer hall at 7:00 am, followed by the rosary at 9:00 am in the Capelinha das Aparições, and Eucharist, from 10:00 am, on the altar in the enclosure.
The traditional Eucharistic Blessing, with a special word for the sick and the blessing of religious objects in the possession of pilgrims and an image of Our Lady identical to the Pilgrim Image destined for the Cathedral of Lviv (Ukraine), precede the Farewell procession, a traditional emotional moment with which the pilgrimage ends.
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