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Catholic archbishop of Moscow leads flock in prayer for peace



John Burger - published on 10/08/22

Archbishop Pezzi counsels the faithful on the power of prayer on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

In the Russian capital, from which war is being directed in Ukraine, a Roman Catholic archbishop spoke on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary for the need for peace.

“Bringing peace does not mean smoothing out all the roughness and leveling the differences. Bringing peace means accepting everyone, even those who think differently from us. Peace is above all the ability to forgive,” said Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow on Friday evening.

According to a report at Fides, information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, the archbishop introduced the recitation of the Rosary in the Roman Catholic cathedral in the Russian capital. In communion with Pope Francis, the Archbishop led prayer before the Eucharist and afterwards celebrated a Mass for peace. 

“A person who loves peace often seems weak, but in reality he is authentically strong, because he is able to maintain calm and clarity of thought, and he knows how to assign everything its place,” Pezzi said. “In the hierarchy of values, the first place belongs to the awareness of being children of one God: awareness that is a guarantee of peace. Mary, You are the Queen of Peace, because everything that has happened in your life had its proper place.”

Recalling the historical origins of the liturgical feast, instituted by Pius V in 1572 to commemorate the victory of the battle of Lepanto, the Archbishop noted that the admiral of the Christian fleet in that battle told Pope Pius that it was not weapons or military prowess that brought the victory, but the prayers of the Rosary.

The Archbishop seemed to want to give Catholics something to hold onto in the midst of the current situation, characterized by a sense of powerlessness to advance the cause of peace.

“We do not even imagine how great is the value of prayer in the eyes of God,” he said. “Jesus himself, in a well-known passage from the Gospel of Luke, speaks of this force and is amazed that His disciples do not believe in it. This temptation exists for us too. Today we are here to ask for peace, to ask for hearts to soften. … The same God, whom nothing can define and nothing can contain, desires to inhabit our hearts. And what do we answer? What answer do the people on whom, in some way, the fate of the world depends?” 

“Today we want their hearts to be open, but it is necessary first of all that our hearts be open,” he continued. “Only then will our prayer be true, it will be for the good of all men. Not for the realization of our designs, but for the fulfillment of God’s plan.”

The Archdiocese of the Mother of God covers an area of more than a million square miles and includes about a hundred communities. Catholics make up less than 1% of the population in the Russian Federation.

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