Following Our Lady to Russia

Before Vatican II, at the end of every celebration of the Holy Tridentine Mass all over the world, prayers were said for the Conversion of Russia. To many Catholics who can remember this, it must have been a great sorrow when that custom was abolished with the arrival of the Novus Ordo Mass in the mid sixties. Time and again Sister Lucy explained, Our Lady of Fatima did NOT ask for the consecration of the world, but the Consecration of RUSSIA. In Our Lady of Fatima (1947), pg. 226; Professor William Thomas Walsh reports: “Lucy made it plain that Our Lady did not ask for the consecration of the world to Her Immaculate Heart. What She demanded specifically was the consecration of Russia.”

However, perhaps those millions of heartfelt prayers by the faithful over so many years bore fruit in the end: the Berlin Wall fell and Communism started its collapse in Russia and all the other countries behind the once “Iron Curtain”. The damage done by atheistic communism to the souls of the people deprived of Christianity for so long in those countries has been devastating and will take many generations to restore. Yet there is a new hunger for God in Russia and a desire to learn about Christianity once again as many missionaries and Orthodox priests have discovered.

Interview With Father Erich Fink

ROME, FEB. 28, 2011 (Zenit.org).- For Father Erich Fink, bringing about the conversion of Russia is a lifelong dream — one that began when he was working in the fields of Germany at only age 10. Now the priest does pastoral work in Berezniki, in west central Russia. He says that the call made by Our Lady of Fatima — to pray for Russia’s conversion — is still pertinent today.

Father Fink spoke with the television program “Where God Weeps” of the Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN) in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need.

Q: Father, Russia was a childhood dream of yours. Why?

Father Fink: I think it was a call of Mary of Fatima. I knew about Russia through my father. He was in Russia for seven years as a young man during the war; three years as a soldier and four years as a prisoner of war. He always talked very fondly about the Russian people. He spoke of the Russian women who would throw bread over the prison wall to them, knowing that it was illegal and punishable by death. He later returned to Germany and married my mother.

We suffered greatly during those early years. As children we looked for how we could help our family in these difficulties and we discovered the Fatima prayer. Our Lady of Fatima promised to alleviate especially family problems so we started praying the rosary. It was during this time that the message became clear to me: World peace was dependent on the conversion of Russia. I then decided that I wanted to work there…………………

Q: What are the challenges you face while working in Russia?
Father Fink: From the morning to the evening people come to me and ask for spiritual and material help. At every moment, I have to decide, however, how to provide help and ask myself this: “Is it a sincere desire for spiritual help? What is the right way for us to provide social assistance?” I also have to help the people, to lead the people to be independent in making decisions and finding their own solutions in improving their lives. These are the great challenges.

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge facing the Catholic Church in Russia?

Father Fink: We must give a testimony of the divine dignity of every human person. This is the greatest need in Russia. We have so many problems: alcoholism, drug addiction and children on the streets. Every person has a divine dignity. This dignity can be nourished with a holistic approach that not only involves social works but also has to involve spiritual nourishment. The Catholic Church has the possibilities to do this. The Orthodox Church has less experience in these social works and we — Catholics — can help. We, however, have to understand the Russian mentality in order to be able to provide the right help and at the same time we must understand and love the Orthodox Church. We have to understand that we are guests and the conversion and renewal of the faith can come only through and in the Orthodox Church. In order to help the Orthodox Church we must understand the Church.

Q: Father, if you were to make an appeal now to Catholics, what would your appeal be?

Father Fink: My appeal is to have an understanding for Russia. I see, especially in Europe and the West, that there are so many doubts: It’s not a democratic system and so on. This doesn’t help. Russia must be a strong country in order to solve all her problems, and it’s on the right track. Russia needs moral support from all the faithful and that they be joyful at the developments. But we need not only understanding, we need prayers. In Fatima when Our Lady asked that all Catholics pray for the conversion of Russia we knew that Communism was finished. Many now are thinking that it is not necessary to continue praying for Russia. We need prayers and spiritual support now more than ever because Russia is, only now, starting her conversion; she has not been converted yet.

For the full interview: http://www.zenit.org/article-31873?l=english

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12 Responses to Following Our Lady to Russia

  1. leftfooter says:

    In the 19th century, when Russia backed the Christian Balkan nations against the Turks, The British Government supported the Turks.

    Perhaps as in 1683, a Slovenik nation will save the West from Islam.

  2. Brother Burrito says:

    leftfooter,

    As I have just looked up, September 11th (9/11) 1683: The Battle of Vienna.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vienna

    Sorry for being so dim, but the significance of the date of that battle has only just hit me!

  3. leftfooter says:

    If we learn one thing from Muslims, let it be “Never Forget’.

  4. Brother Burrito says:

    When a Muslim militarist waves a white flag, he is signaling his desire to re-arm!

    (Ah, the beauty of a privately run blog, no politically correct moderators!)

  5. kathleen says:

    Yes dear Burrito, and if I remember correctly, the Coalition chose the 7th October (feast of the Battle of Lepanto) as the day to start the bombardments in Taliban-occupied Afghanistan!

  6. hithlin says:

    “We have to understand that we are guests and the conversion and renewal of the faith can come only through and in the Orthodox Church. ”

    This is some kind of ecumenical idiocy. WE ARE NOT GUESTS HERE. Maybe he is. I’m not, and none of my friends are. There exist, yes, there do exist Russian Catholics who are just as Russian as any schismatic or unbeliever, born on this land and enjoying as much right to it as anyone else. And there were Russian Catholics, ethnically Russian (not only Polish or German expats) back in 19th century. Some of us were clever enough to abandon the schism (the what he calls “Orthodox Church”) and some were baptized into the Catholic Church, the One and Universal Church of Jesus Christ, as adults or as children.

  7. rebrites says:

    Ummm… does that mean the Orthodox aren´t Real True Christians?

  8. kathleen says:

    hithlin:
    Thank you for pointing out the fact that there are Russian Catholics in Russia. The newsletters from Aid to the Church in Need have often mentioned this. From what I have tried to find out though, the numbers are very small – less than 1% according to Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Russia

    And here is another website that looks into the question:

    http://www.catholic-church.org/church-unity/cath_n_e.htm

    As a Russian Catholic, it would be very interesting for us all to hear of your experiences.

  9. piliersdelaterre says:

    ..there is a fascinating book: “In Lubianka’s Shadow: the memoirs of an American priest in Stalin’s Moscow, 1934-45, written by Leopold Braun, AA ,edited G.M. Hamburg.
    (the AA bit is not alcoholics anonymous but Augustinians of the Assumption, though eleven years under Stalin would drive most people to drink). The book was published only latterly in 2006 by the University of Notre Dame (Indiana). Formerly it was suppressed despite great indignation on the part of Fr Braun: he even went so far as to compare the Vatican’s policy toward the Soviet Union with Western appeasement of the Nazis.
    Braun had been described as a NOT ‘perfectly submissive religious’. However, as the introduction puts it, “the obedience demanded of Braun- silence in the face of evil- felt to the simple priest like a contradiction both to his moral sensibility and to his American common sense”.
    His unique perspective on religious life under Stalin made him what Isaiah Berlin termed, ” a ‘hedgehog’, a person who knew one big thing, one mastering truth- namely the deficiencies of Soviet Communism”.
    Now the book is finally published may he rest in peace!

  10. savvysrdc says:

    Rebrites,

    The Orthodox churches have Apostolic succession, Catholics are permitted to receive communion in the Orthodox church, but the Orthodox are not permitted to receive communion in the Catholic church, because the Orthodox think it’s the Catholics who are not fully in the camp.

  11. 000rjbennett says:

    I’m not sure that everyone felt great sorrow when the prayers for the conversion of Russia were suppressed, or at least they didn’t feel sorrowful for very long. It may be that many people eventually came to feel, rightly or wrongly, that when the Soviet Union became the Russian Federation and the Communist Party no longer controlled the government, the prayers for the conversion of Russia had been answered and were no longer necessary.

    I think many of these people then felt a sense of joy at what had occurred in Russia. Admittedly, however, their joy has since been tempered somewhat by the emergence of what Mikhail Gorbachov has called “imitation democracy” in the country, disguising a new dictatorship.

    It is perhaps useful to note that here in the Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, Cardinal Meisner has given permission for Mass in the extraordinary form to be said in quite a large number of parishes. In every exact way, these Masses are in fact the Tridentine Mass that many people remember from their childhood and youth, from the “Introibo ad altare Dei” at the beginning to John’s gospel at the end. The priests here even enter the sanctuary wearing a biretta. The only difference between these Masses, and the Masses of forty or fifty years ago is that the prayers for the conversion of Russia are not said at the end.

  12. Oleg-Michael Martynov says:

    The Prayers for the Conversion of Russia (or, better to say, the Leonine Prayers: they were introduced by Pope Leo XIII and only received the intention of “the restoration to the people of Russia of tranquility and freedom to profess the Catholic faith” from Pius XI in 1929) are only to be said after the what is called Low Mass, that is, Mass celebrated by a priest without a deacon and subdeacon and without any singing or chanting. They were never supposed to be said after High Mass or any other type of Mass more solemn than Low. I have been told, though not sure if it’s so, that by 1962 they were made optional even after Low Mass, so some priests who follow the 1962 discipline (which means both “Ecclesia Dei” and FSSPX, but not Sedevacantists) say them and some don’t.

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