Cardinal: Pope Francis entrusted me to assure the UGCC of his love and support

2017/7/15 0:17:28

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches of the Catholic Church, who previously visited Ukraine alongside Pope John Paul II, says he has returned in response to the specific request of Pope Francis to tell UGCC members “that you are not alone, that you have a special place in his heart.”

 


In the first of several scheduled appearances in Ukraine, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri told Ukrainian Greek Catholics “Before my departure, Pope Francis personally instructed me to testify to you his affinity, his embrace, his prayers together with the blessing.

 

The Cardinal, who is Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, made this statement as part of his sermon during the Divine Liturgy on July 12 at the feast of the Supreme Apostles Peter and Paul in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv.

 

According to the Department of Information of the UGCC, the Ambassador of Pope Francis thanked the Lord for the gift of today's Liturgy and conveyed the words of the pontiff that Ukrainians occupy a special place in his life.

 

“Pope Francis assures you,” added the preacher, “that you are not alone, that you have a special place in his heart, and he sincerely thanks you for all the prayers that you have raised to God in his intentions in the time of the recent great pilgrimage to the Basilica St. Peter to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the canonization of St. Josaphat: a martyr for the sake of love for God, a martyr for the sake of the unity of the Church, which we want to follow without giving up any difficulties or human power that wants to take our hope in an honest and just life, in cooperation and conversion of all, the hope  of homeland, honored in its entirety and reconciliation between its various components and souls in the middle of oneself.”

 

Cardinal Sandri also reminded that he was not visiting Ukraine for the first time. This is his third visit to our country. In 2001, the Cardinal arrived in Ukraine, accompanied by St. John Paul II and this journey made an unforgettable impression on him.

 

“I still remember his words when he remembered the tradition according to which the apostle Andrew, visiting places where the city later grew up, blessed them, saying: “The glory of God is rising on these hills!” professing that the Dnieper would become the new Jordan through the baptism of Prince Volodymyr, and Kyiv – the new Jerusalem as the mother of Slavonic Christianity in East Europe. These words of the Holy Pontiff lead us with a heart and mind to Pope Francis who, before my departure, personally instructed me to assure you of his affinity, his embrace, his prayers together with the blessing, which on his behalf I will bestow upon you at the end of this Liturgy,” said  the Prefect of the Congregation of the Eastern Churches.

 

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*The article above appears through courtesy of the Religious Information Service of Ukraine. Access RISU at http://risu.org.ua/en/index

 

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