Russia Marks Fatima Anniversary

Archbishop Says Message Still Relevant

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MOSCOW, MAY 25, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The message from Mary's appearances in Fatima is still relevant after 90 years, because it is linked to the transformation of the human person, said Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz.



The anniversary of the apparitions was marked on May 13. The leader of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God said that the 1917 appearances are reason for hope.

ZENIT asked him what the 90th anniversary should mean for young people.

"In the first place young people must understand that Our Lady of Fatima gave us hope in 1917," he said. "She warned of upcoming dangers for which we needed to pray.

"She predicted the development of the history of Russia and the world, but at the same time she gave us hope and offered her Immaculate Heart as the ideal or symbol for us to follow to have a pure heart: 'My Immaculate Heart will triumph and Russia will be converted.'

"This is the hope she gave to Russia and the entire world."

The archbishop said that perhaps young people don't remember this, "but her apparitions are relevant today because the call to repentance is always present: the call for man's heart to be pure."

He continued: "The words of Our Lady were a warning to carry out the will of God -- to respect her Immaculate Heart -- because only in this way can we have a pure world; if not, many difficulties arise.

"Today we see in various parts of the world new problems like war, euthanasia, family problems … because man does not observe the Ten Commandments.

"It is because of this that the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima are still relevant after 90 years and are looked upon with interest because they are linked, above all, to the transformation of the person."

The 61-year-old archbishop further affirmed that Mary's message was significant for Russia also in an ecumenical sense.

He said: "Our Lady of Fatima spoke of the conversion of Russia to God, she didn't say that it had to be exclusively Catholic.

"As the Catholic Church, we help our Orthodox brethren and we work together to continue and develop dialogue between us.

"Mary is just as present in the Orthodox Church as she is in the Catholic Church and, I would say, much more in Russia. Her image is a figure that is always pure for every Catholic and Orthodox for whom, without a doubt, her apparitions have ecumenical significance."

Martyrs' blood

According to Julio Loredo, the coordinator of the Apostles of Fatima for the Light Over the East organization, the faith in Russia is vibrant.

In Russia, "I saw a faith that was much stronger that that of many people in the West because it is watered in blood," he told ZENIT.

"Blood is strong, it hurts, but what is bathed in blood will grow. In Russia, I see the fruit of the blood of martyrs which was shed for many years, and the faith seems strong and very enthusiastic," he added.

Loredo said he considers Mary's reference to Russia in the third part of Fatima's "secrets" as providential: "Why the focus on Russia? […] The apostolate in Russia is in a sense providential and prophetic because we are touching the mystery of Fatima which says that this age of crisis will end and it will be the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary."