The Russian Youth Meeting, an extension of the World Youth Day, will see 18 youth from Russia arriving at Lisbon at its commencement. A highlight of this meeting is a long-distance dialogue with Pope Francis, which will be broadcast.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia recently held their 57th Plenary Assembly, discussing various issues including the crises in Ukraine, the Caucasus, Syria, and Turkey, as well as the wounds inflicted on people and society due to separations, divorces, domestic violence, abortions, the misery of the hungry, the homeless, and the indigent. In response, the bishops urged the faithful to meditate on Pope Francis’ Letter for Lent 2023 and emphasized the importance of prayer, dialogue, and active love. They also called for continuous reflection on the pastoral and missionary conversion suggested by the Holy Father.
The war continues, with millions of refugees and thousands of dead. A war that, as the Holy See stated in a press release a few days ago, “is morally unjust, unacceptable, barbaric, senseless, repugnant, and sacrilegious.” Will the Russian people have the courage to end it?
President Zelensky’s call to his fellow Ukrainians to eschew the soul-decimating effects of hatred, should be a call every person, especially Christians, must adopt as a rule of life.
The pontiff once again calls for the cessation of violence in Ukraine and peace in the world on Easter Sunday, persisting in his stance against the Russian aggression.
There is a universal agreement that war is inherently evil. But it takes an influential religious leader like the Pope to goad the collective conscience into limiting the cruel outcome of human greed and apathy.
Pope Francis’ consecration of Ukraine and Russia may yet usher in a much-needed era of peace promised by the Blessed Virgin at Fatima.
While popes in the past have performed the consecration stipulated by Our Lady at Fatima to varying degrees, Pope Francis’ forthcoming consecration comes the closest to meeting the specifics of the Blessed Mother’s request and may prove fortuitous.