The archbishop of Rio de Janeiro is planning to consecrate World Youth Day to Our Lady of Fatima when he celebrates her feast in Portugal next week.
Archbishop Orani João Tempesta, the host archbishop for July’s World Youth Day, will preside over the major annual celebration in Fatima on May 12-13.
May 13 is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Each year, a bishop from some part of the world is invited to preside over the celebration; this year, the bishop of the Diocese of Leiria-Fátima invited his Brazilian brother, a gesture “for which I was very grateful,” Archbishop Tempesta said.
The Rio prelate said he would take advantage of his trip “to consecrate the World Youth Day [to Mary].”
And, he continued, “to my delight, Pope Francis himself asked that his pontificate be consecrated to Our Lady of Fatima. On a great date, therefore, three important events will come together: the great solemnity of Fatima, the young people who will be consecrated to Mary and the consecration of the whole of this pontificate.”
“For all of us,” the archbishop said, “it is a great moment to place ourselves before the message of Fatima, its meaning and its call to us to conversion.”
The archbishop added that on consecrating WYD to Our Lady, “we are obviously not consecrating the day as an entity,” but “we consecrate the youth, so that listening to the message of Fatima they also feel they have a Mother who is very present in their lives, and really live that message of a call to conversion and change, which is of an inspiration that is very close to the Brazilian people, given our tradition that comes from Portugal.”
Archbishop Tempesta shared these reflections Monday at the conclusion of the meeting of the bishops’ Council of Social Communications, of which Archbishop Tempesta is also president.
ZENIT asked the archbishop of Rio what he expects from evangelization today, given what Pope Francis is indicating and the document of Aparecida. The archbishop responded:
“When the Apostles began to preach the Gospel they did not expect people to come to them, but they went from city to city, from region to region to preach the Gospel. This made it possible for the Apostles to spread the Gospel around the world. If they had looked to see where they were, they would not have left Jerusalem. Either because of persecution, or because of the call or because of being sent, the Apostles went out to preach. And this is what Pope Francis is taking up again as well as the document of Aparecida. The Church of Brazil herself tells us to go where the people are, to go from house to house, to go to the neighborhoods to preach the Gospel, to go to the people to preach the Word of God. Beyond welcoming them in the Church, we are all, fathers and laymen, called to the evangelizing mission wherever people are, speaking both geographically as well as in the different human situations.”