Mass in the Shrine of Our Lady of Berdychiv, in Ukraine Mass in the Shrine of Our Lady of Berdychiv, in Ukraine 

Carmelite Father General brings Church's solidarity to Ukraine

Fr. Miguel Márquez Calle, Superior General of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, visits several Ukrainian cities to bring humanitarian aid and encourage people to trust in God's protection amid the pain of war.

By Renato Martinez and Francesca Merlo

The Father General of the Discalced Carmelite Order, Fr. Miguel Márquez Calle, recently visited Ukraine to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

During his week-long visit, he celebrated several Masses and prayed with the Ukrainian people at the Shrine of Our Lady of Berdychiv. He also visited hospitals near the conflict zones and met with Carmelite communities in Kyiv and Berdychiv.

Commitment to the people

Speaking to Vatican News' Renato Martinez, Fr. Márquez noted that the Carmelite's commitment to the Ukrainian people is encourage them to persevere in their struggle to defend the rights of the poor.

He recalled that Easter last year provided a poignant message of hope, as the faithful heard the proclamation "Christ is risen", and to entrust themselves to the Virgin of Carmel, "to whom people turn for protection".

In fact, during this most recent visit, the Carmelite religious consecrated themselves to the Virgin Mary, seeking her protection and intercession for peace in Ukraine and the world.

Concern for civilians

"It is very striking that young people continue to die," he said. "Speaking to us, they never give details; they never give numbers, nor do they authorise us to say where we have been, and they don't want us to say names of places, so as not to identify them." Fr. Márquez also expressed his concern about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and its impact on civilians.

The Father General emphasised that the Order's commitment to the Ukrainian people begins with prayer, which they believe to be a powerful and effective weapon for peace.

Prayers to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

"I offered the Order to Our Lady of Mount Carmel," he said. "I told her that we were in her hands, and I asked her to keep us in her heart, to receive us as her children and to do with us what she did with Jesus, to form us in her womb and to make us people of peace, messengers of peace."

Fr. Márquez explained that the Carmelites continue to support the people of Ukraine economically by providing resources like food and medical equipment. They have been receiving donations to help with this humanitarian effort.

Finally, Fr. Miguel Márquez emphasised that "our commitment is above all to be united, to support our brothers who are supporting the people, to continue to persevere in policies of justice, of truth, of struggle, of perseverance, in defending the rights of the poor."

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24 July 2023, 15:15