The address of Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz to English-speak guests on the occasion of the Dedication of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, October 11, 1998
Dear brothers in the priesthood, dear representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, city government and diplomatic missions, dears brothers and sisters in Christ,
I cordially greet all of you who have come today for the dedication of this chapel in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. Please allow me to offer a special greeting to the representatives of the ěFatima Family Apostolate,î with their leader, Father Robert Fox, and to express my deep gratitude for the generous help we have received from you to renovate this chapel.
Fatima and Russia. These places are geographically far apart one from the other - but very close spiritually, especially after the revelations of Our Lady in Fatima in 1917, and following the revolution in Russia in the same year. Both Christians and non-Christians have suffered persecution in Russia for three generations. It was a time of very Dark Night. And the Fatima message was the only star of hope during this night.
In Fatima, Our Lady said, "Russia will be converted." This message gave much hope to people who suffered under these persecutions. As Jesus Christ rose from death to life after three days, Russia - after three generations - is rising to new life. All of us are witnesses to this process. Todayís celebration is one of many signs that confirm this.
This chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, will be, in fact, the first shrine to Our Lady of Fatima in Russia. In dedicating this chapel to Our Lady of Fatima, we would like to thank the Mother of God for the courage, help and hope that she gave us during the times of persecution, as well as for the spiritual rebirth of Russia.
This dedication takes place on a very special day, since today in all the parishes and Catholic institutions throughout Russia, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope John Paul II. Let me remind you of one very important event concerning the ministry of the Holy Father and the conversion of Russia. For the conversion of Russia, Our Lady demanded consecration to her Immaculate Heart. This was done by Pope John Paul II in union with all bishops throughout the world on March 25, 1984. The subsequent developments in the territories of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe showed us that this consecration was a key turning point with political, social, and - most of all - religious implications.
Today, through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, we pray to Almighty God for bountiful graces and health for His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, in his ministry in the universal Church, guiding her to the Third Millennium. We also pray for the Lordís blessing on those who helped to rebuild this chapel, and for all those who come to pray here. May God bless you all.