12 may, 2022
Substitute of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State asks at Fatima for Our Lady's intercession to “untie the knots” and “the dark nights of life and of the world”
“We lack the wine of joy and sharing, of hope and love,” says Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra.
The Substitute of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, presiding tonight at the Candlelight Procession in Fatima, asked for the intercession of Our Lady in the dark nights of life and of the world, lamenting that “in the banquet of humankind” the “wine of fraternity and peace” is missing.
Based on the proclaimed liturgy, recounting the episode of the Wedding Feast at Cana, the Prelate stressed the need to “look at our life and the world as a whole” in order to ascertain when “the wine of faith” is missing, when “failure and weariness” are added, and when “dreams are shattered” and “relationships break down, and the bitterness of conflict or of loneliness assails us.”
The prelate acknowledged that in today's world “selfishness and rancour often explode, as in (...) this time, in the atrocious and barbaric [inhuman] violence of war, where there are neither victors nor vanquished, but only tears.”
“On the table of our world, at the banquet of humankind, the wine of fraternity and peace is missing, while selfishness and rancour often explode, as, in this time, in the atrocious and barbaric [inhuman] violence of war, where there are neither victors nor vanquished, but only tears like those of the Mother of God,” and which, as Pope Francis reminded us, “are also a sign of God's weeping for the victims of the war that destroys not only Ukraine; (...) it destroys all the peoples involved in the war. All of them! For war does not only destroy the defeated people, no, it also destroys the victor; it destroys even those who observe it, with superficial news, to see who is the victor, who is the vanquished,” he stated.
Speaking about the meaning of the pilgrimage, Bishop Edgar Peña Parra recalled that “tonight we walk under the loving gaze of the Blessed Virgin Mary to find peace and new light in our hearts.”
“We have arrived here from different places, and each one of us carries in our own heart the request for a grace that we want to present to the Mother of the Lord, asking her to undo some knots in our lives… let us seize this night, consecrated to the prayer of so many brothers and sisters, who, like us, in this blessed land, are certain that the Virgin will listen to us,” said Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra at the start of the first International Anniversary Pilgrimage of the year, which marks the first Apparition of the Virgin, now without the restrictions of the pandemic, and with the participation of 114 groups from 23 countries.
“It is a pilgrimage that symbolizes the nights of our life and of the world, of those darknesses that sometimes surprise us and with which we are often called to struggle, in the hope that a star from above will show us the way,” he emphasised, while pointing out that this pilgrimage “is also a sign of the deep and renewed trust in Mary.”
“In the intimacy of this night, in addition to the constant prayer asking for the gift of peace in Ukraine and in the whole world, we also ask Our Lady of Fatima to watch over the life of every priest and consecrated person, every youth and adolescent, every elderly and sick person, every family and each one of us, under her mantle, and guard our lives,” he clarified.
“We look to Mary Most Holy, Queen of peace and life. To Her we entrust ourselves, so that She may become the spokesperson of the cry of our hearts to Her Son. Let us listen to Her tender voice of a Mother who invites us, also today, to do what Jesus asks of us.”
This evening the Shrine of Fatima’s Prayer Area was filled with pilgrims, in a sea of candles that had not been seen in Cova da Iria since October 2019.
More than two years later, many thousands of worshippers, of all ages, participated in the recitation of the Rosary that began the May pilgrimage to the Shrine of Cova da Iria and during which, in the first mystery, the situation in Ukraine was recalled, an intention also present in the Universal Prayer of the Faithful.
During the night and early morning, a prayer vigil will take place, to be followed at the end by the Eucharistic Procession, at 7:00 a.m. on the 13th.
The pilgrimage will continue with the Rosary at 9:00 a.m. and the International Mass at 10:00 a.m., with the Blessing of the Sick and of the Pilgrim Statue which will be offered to the metropolitan Greek-Catholic Archdiocese of Lviv, Ukraine.
This Friday, the 13th, will also mark the fifth anniversary of the canonization of Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto, by Pope Francis, in the celebration of the Centennial of the Apparitions in Cova da Iria.