The All-Ukrainian Pilgrimage of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) commenced in Zarvanytsia
This was reported by the Information Department of the UGCC.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked the numerous pilgrims who came to Zarvanytsia to pray for both the living and those who "are already there, in heaven, participating in this pilgrimage - our young girls and boys - the heroes whom we must bury in the Ukrainian land every day."
"Our hearts ache from this war: an unknown number of casualties, tens of thousands wounded, thousands missing without a trace. Today, we came to Zarvanytsia, to Our Mother, to bring her our pain, our tears. And here, in Zarvanytsia, she embraces us all," said the Primate.
This year, special guests attended the pilgrimage to Zarvanytsia - the Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine, Visvaldas Kulbokas, and the head of the organizing committee for World Youth Day 2023, Bishop Auxiliary of the Roman Catholic Patriarchate of Lisbon, Américo Manuel Alves Aguiar.
Thanking the Nuncio for his presence, His Beatitude Sviatoslav said: "He deserves the respect of the whole nation. We went through the most difficult first days of the war together in Kyiv. I saw him collecting Russian bullets in the courtyard of the Nunciature. He did not flee, like other diplomats, from Kyiv. He was with us. He is with us. And we know that he is the voice of Ukraine before Pope Francis and the entire Catholic world. Dear brother, here, before the face of God's people, I thank you."
In his address to the faithful, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas encouraged them to seek the profound meaning of pilgrimage - to find not only water or a shrine in Zarvanytsia but the Mother of God herself. He entrusted Ukraine to her intercession, as Ukraine defends itself from Russian aggression, deported and injured children, soldiers, volunteers, chaplains, and all prisoners, including the Redemptorist fathers from Berdiansk and the entire Church.
"Without You, our Mother, we are weak, but with You, we are strong," emphasized the Nuncio.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav also entrusted the Ukrainian youth who will participate in World Youth Day to Bishop Américo Aguiar, who is responsible for organizing the event in Lisbon:
"Bishop, today I want to entrust our youth into your hands. Strengthen them in faith. Let them feel that they have millions of brothers and sisters from all over the world who support and pray for Ukraine, who help feed the hungry and save those whom war and the Russian aggressor condemn to death and deprive of the right to life. Take care of our youth!" requested His Beatitude Sviatoslav, who will soon be elevated to the dignity of cardinal by Pope Francis.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav also thanked the UGCC bishops from all over Ukraine and abroad who came to Zarvanytsia for the pilgrimage.