The Dispatch

Pope Francis: God is weeping for the victims of the Ukraine war

April 23, 2022 Catholic News Agency 2
Pope Francis at the general audience in St. Peter’s Square on April 20, 2022. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, Apr 23, 2022 / 09:40 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said on Saturday that “we must ask for the grace to cry” with Our Lady for the lives destroyed by the Ukraine war and the other miseries of our time, like “the children discarded before they are even born.”

In a meeting on April 23 with the Catholic community affiliated with the Marian shrine of Our Lady of Tears in northern Italy, the pope said that Mary’s tears are “a sign of God’s weeping for the victims of the war” in Ukraine.

Pope Francis underlined that the war is “destroying not only Ukraine,” but it is destroying “all the nations involved in the war.”

“Because war not only destroys the people who are defeated, no, it also destroys the victor … War destroys everyone,” he said in Paul VI Hall.

“We have entrusted our prayer to the Immaculate Heart, and we are certain that our Mother has accepted it and intercedes for peace, for she is the Queen of Peace,” the pope added.

In a speech to 2,800 pilgrims from Italian parishes close to the 16th century shrine of Our Lady of Tears in Treviglio, Italy, the pope said that “our civilization, our times, have lost the [Biblical] sense of weeping.”

Pope Francis speaks to 2,800 pilgrims from Italian parishes affiliated with the shrine of Our Lady of Tears in Treviglio, Italy on April 23, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis speaks to 2,800 pilgrims from Italian parishes affiliated with the shrine of Our Lady of Tears in Treviglio, Italy on April 23, 2022. Vatican Media

He said: “We must ask for the grace to cry in front of the things we see … not only wars … but the discarded, the elderly who are discarded, the children discarded before they are even born.”

“The miseries of our time should make us cry and we need to cry. …We must allow ourselves to be moved,” he added.

Pope Francis said that “Mary’s tears” intercede and help those with hearts of stone who have forgotten how to cry.

“Mary’s tears were transformed by the grace of Christ, as her whole life, her whole being, everything in Mary is transfigured in perfect union with the Son, with his mystery of salvation. Therefore when Mary cries, her tears are a sign of God’s compassion,” the pope said.

“And for this reason Our Lady’s tears are a sign of the compassion of God, who always forgives us with this compassion; they are a sign of Christ’s pain for our sins, for the evil that afflicts humanity, especially the little ones and the innocent, who are those who suffer,” he said.

Pope Francis meets with members of the FIAT Association on April 23, 2022. Vatican Media
Pope Francis meets with members of the FIAT Association on April 23, 2022. Vatican Media

The pope also spoke about the war in Ukraine in a meeting with the FIAT Association on Saturday. The FIAT Association was founded by Belgian Cardinal Leo Jozef Suenens in 1987.

“The tragedies we are experiencing at the moment, particularly the war in the territory of Ukraine so close to us, remind us of the urgency of a civilization of love. In the eyes of our brothers and sisters, victims of the horrors of war, we read the profound and pressing need for a life marked by dignity, peace and love,” Pope Francis told the group.

“Like the Virgin Mary, we must continually cultivate the missionary spirit to make ourselves close to those who suffer, opening our hearts to them. We must walk with them, fight with them for their human dignity and spread the perfume of God’s love everywhere.”

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No Picture
News Briefs

Live updates: Pope Francis’ Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

March 25, 2022 Catholic News Agency 1
An image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at St. Peter’s Church, Vienna, Austria. / Diana Ringo via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0 at).

Vatican City, Mar 25, 2022 / 09:55 am (CNA).

11:04 a.m.
Pope Francis goes to confession, then hears confessions

Pope Francis prays during the penitential service. Vatican Pool.
Pope Francis prays during the penitential service. Vatican Pool.

After Pope Francis preached his homily, there was a moment of total silence in the basilica. Following the recitation of the Confiteor, the prayer beginning “I confess to almighty God…”, the pope walked across the basilica to the area with the confessionals. There, he made his confession while standing. He then walked over to a confessional and began to hear confessions himself.

10:54 a.m.
An act followed in Russia and Ukraine

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Moscow, Russia. Maxim Apryatin via Shutterstock.
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Moscow, Russia. Maxim Apryatin via Shutterstock.

Catholics in the Russian capital Moscow are gathering today to pray and follow the live feed of the act of consecration. They are meeting at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, a building with a turbulent history.

Ukrainian Catholics will also be praying the act of consecration, which has been shared on the website of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, based in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

Andrii Yurash, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See, has tweeted this:

10:44 a.m.
The ‘sacrament of joy’

Confessors arrive for the penitential service inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Hannah Brockhaus/CNA.
Confessors arrive for the penitential service inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Hannah Brockhaus/CNA.

The penitential service includes the opportunity for individual confession. Here are the confessors arriving in the basilica.

Confessors in St. Peter’s Basilica. Courtney Mares/CNA.
Confessors in St. Peter’s Basilica. Courtney Mares/CNA.

In his homily, Pope Francis spoke about confession, describing it as “the sacrament of joy.”

10:34 a.m.
The meaning of the act of consecration

Pope Francis attends the penitential service. Courtney Mares/CNA.
Pope Francis attends the penitential service. Courtney Mares/CNA.

The act of consecration is long and theologically rich. Here are five things to know about it.

Some commentators have raised questions about a phrase found in some non-English versions of the text. The phrase, “Earth of Heaven,” is present in the Spanish text (“tierra del Cielo”) and the Italian translation (“terra del Cielo”).

The Vatican has issued an explanation of the phrase. You can find it here.

10:24 a.m.
The statue of Mary inside St. Peter’s Basilica

The statue of the Virgin Mary in St. Peter’s Basilica. Vatican Pool.
The statue of the Virgin Mary in St. Peter’s Basilica. Vatican Pool.

Pope Francis is expected to stand before this statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary as he reads the act of consecration. The act is available on the Vatican website in an impressive 36 languages, including Ukrainian and Russian. The pope is expected to make the act of consecration in Italian.

10:14 a.m.
A guide to the penitential service

The booklet for the penitential service and act of consecration. Courtney Mares/CNA.
The booklet for the penitential service and act of consecration. Courtney Mares/CNA.

Here is the booklet for the penitential service and act of consecration given to members of the congregation inside St. Peter’s Basilica. You can see the contents here.

10:12 a.m.
How to watch live

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle arrives for the penitential service and act of consecration. Courtney Mares/CNA.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle arrives for the penitential service and act of consecration. Courtney Mares/CNA.

If you’d like to watch the consecration live, we encourage you to tune in via EWTN.

The pope is expected to recite the act of consecration at around 6:30 p.m. local time.

When is 6:30 p.m. Rome time for you? There’s a handy cheat sheet here.

10:08 a.m.
Inside the basilica

Inside St Peter’s Basilica ahead of the consecration of Ukraine and Russia. Courtney Mares/CNA.
Inside St Peter’s Basilica ahead of the consecration of Ukraine and Russia. Courtney Mares/CNA.

This was the scene inside the basilica ahead of the penitential service and act of consecration.

Here are the preparations, as seen by our reporters at the basilica:

09:55 a.m.
Welcome to readers

People gather in St Peter’s Square ahead of the consecration of Ukraine and Russia. Courtney Mares/CNA.
People gather in St Peter’s Square ahead of the consecration of Ukraine and Russia. Courtney Mares/CNA.

Welcome to CNA’s live coverage of the momentous global act of consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our reporters are inside St. Peter’s Basilica, where a penitential service will begin shortly, followed by the consecration.

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News Briefs

What time is the consecration of Russia and Ukraine? Find out here

March 24, 2022 Catholic News Agency 3
An image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at St. Peter’s Church, Vienna, Austria. | Pope Francis / Diana Ringo via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0 at) | Vatican Media

Denver Newsroom, Mar 24, 2022 / 15:25 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the evening of Friday, March 25, entrusting the nations to Mary’s help and protection amid the ongoing conflict there. The pope has asked everyone in the world to join him.

The consecration itself will take the form of a prayer that Pope Francis will recite during a penitential service in Rome. 

Here’s the prayer. Your diocese or parish is likely organizing a gathering to pray it together.

If you want to join the pope at the beginning of the penitential service, the service will start at 5 p.m. Rome time. EWTN will broadcast the service on cable and online. CNA will also be carrying the livestream on our Facebook page. 

If you want to join in praying with Pope Francis at the exact moment he is praying the prayer of consecration, that will likely happen closer to 6:30 p.m. Rome time, according to the pope.

When is 6:30 p.m. Rome time for you? Here’s a handy cheat sheet:

6:30 p.m. Rome

6:30 p.m. — West Africa Standard Time (Nigeria)

5:30 p.m. — GMT (London)

1:30 p.m. — Eastern Time (New York, Washington, Miami)

12:30 p.m. — Central Time (Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas)

11:30 a.m. — Mountain Time (Denver, Salt Lake City)

10:30 a.m. — Pacific Time (Los Angeles, Seattle)

9:30 a.m. — Alaska Daylight Time (Anchorage, Juneau)

7:30 a.m. — Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (Honolulu)

04:30 a.m. (Saturday) — Sydney, Melbourne

02:30 a.m. (Saturday) — Japan

01:30 a.m. (Saturday) — Perth; China

8:30 p.m. — Moscow

7:30 p.m. — Helsinki, Kyiv

[…]