Nuncio Prays for Peace and Harmony in Belarus at Renowned Marian Shrine

Archbishop Ante Jozić offered the Mass on July 3 in the village of Budslau at the end of an annual festival.

Archbishop Ante Jozić celebrates Mass before the icon of Our Lady of Budslau in Belarus July 3.
Archbishop Ante Jozić celebrates Mass before the icon of Our Lady of Budslau in Belarus July 3. (photo: Vitaliy Palinevsky / Catholic.by via CNA)

The apostolic nuncio to Belarus prayed on Saturday for peace and harmony in the country as he celebrated Mass at a renowned Marian shrine. 

Archbishop Ante Jozić said he prayed that, with God’s help, divisions would be overcome as he offered the Mass on July 3 in the village of Budslau, 90 miles north of the capital, Minsk.

/ Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by.

| Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by via CNA

“Today I pray in a special way for peace and harmony in this country, so that with God’s help and through the intercession of Our Lady of Budslau, we can overcome, as Pope Francis says, the ‘culture of division and establish a true culture of brotherhood and solidarity,’” he said, according to Catholic.by, the website of the Catholic Church in Belarus. 

Archbishop Jozić, a 54-year-old Croatian archbishop who arrived in Belarus last October, was presiding at Mass at the end of the annual festival of Our Lady of Budslau attended by thousands of pilgrims from across the country. 

/ Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by.

| Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by via CNA

A revered Marian icon depicting Our Lady of Budslau is housed in the local Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The icon was recovered undamaged in May following a devastating fire at the church.

/ Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by.

| Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by via CNA

Archbishop Jozić said: “The Budslau Sanctuary, with its miraculous icon, has been inspiring many believers from all over the country every year for centuries, giving them new spiritual strength to overcome life’s difficulties and get closer to Jesus Christ, God and Man, Savior of the world and all people.”

/ Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by.

| Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by via CNA

Catholics are the second-largest religious community after Orthodox Christians in Belarus, a country of 9.6 million people bordering Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

/ Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by.

| Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by via CNA

An annual celebration in honor of Our Lady of Budslau was inscribed on UNESCO’s “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” in 2018.

/ Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by.

| Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by via CNA

In its citation, the United Nations’ cultural agency said: “Since the 17th century, every year on the first weekend of July, tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over Belarus and other countries have come to Budslau to participate in the celebrations in honor of the Budslau icon of Our Lady, with some making the pilgrimage on foot.” 

“The icon, the patroness of Belarusian people, is known for many miracles, and Budslau is recognized as the place where, according to legend, Our Lady appeared to believers in July 1588.” 
/ Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by.

| Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by via CNA

“Elements of the celebration include priests welcoming the pilgrims, Masses, a night procession with the icon and candles, a youth prayer vigil, and hours of prayer to the Mother of God,” the citation continued.

/ Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by.

| Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by via CNA

The Mass on July 3 was attended by bishops from across Belarus, including Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the former archbishop of Minsk-Mogilev.

The apostolic nuncio recalled that Belarusians had turned to Our Lady of Budslau at the most challenging moments in their history, including the Second World War and the communist era. 

/ Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by.

| Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by via CNA

Alluding to the upheaval in the country following a disputed presidential election in August 2020, Archbishop Jozić encouraged Belarusians to reconcile with one another, building a culture of peace. 

/ Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by.

| Vitaliy Palinevsky/Catholic.by via CNA

He urged them to imitate the Virgin Mary, who served God with humility, ending his homily with the words of the Magnificat, spoken by Mary during her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, as recorded in St. Luke’s Gospel.

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