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