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Pope Francis Calls for Month of Prayer Dedicated to Peace in Ukraine

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In a heartfelt response to a plea from Ukrainian Bishops, Pope Francis has called for a month-long period of dedicated prayer, seeking peace, reconciliation, and an end to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The Pope made this impassioned call during a meeting with the Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who were gathered for their annual Synod in Rome.

Photo credit: Max Kukurudziak

Photo credit: Max Kukurudziak

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/6/2023 (3 weeks ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Pope Francis, Ukraine, October, prayer, peace

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk began the meeting by drawing attention to the tragic and dire situation in Ukraine. He emphasized the rising toll of casualties, including the growing numbers of deceased, wounded, and tortured individuals, while expressing gratitude for the Pope's unwavering support and affection.

The Holy See Press Office released a statement detailing the meeting, noting that several bishops shared their firsthand accounts of the harrowing suffering endured by the Ukrainian people, each in their own unique circumstances.

Pope Francis, deeply moved by their testimonies, listened attentively and offered his own heartfelt responses. He conveyed his profound sense of closeness and solidarity with the Ukrainian people, highlighting the tragic "dimension of martyrdom" often overlooked by the world, where people have been subjected to cruelty and criminality.

The Pontiff also shared his sorrow over the overwhelming feeling of helplessness that war has brought upon the Ukrainian population, attributing this despair to the destructive influence of "the devil, who desires to destroy."

Pope Francis directed his thoughts to the Ukrainian children he has encountered during his pontificate. He lamented the loss of their innocence and the disappearance of their smiles, emphasizing that one of the grievous outcomes of war is the robbing of children's joy and laughter.

Towards the conclusion of the meeting, Pope Francis drew inspiration from the example set by Jesus during His Passion. He reminded the assembly that Jesus did not succumb to victimization, insults, torture, or crucifixion but instead bore witness to the courage to speak the truth and remained close to the suffering, preventing them from falling into despair.

"This is not an easy path," the Pope acknowledged, "but it is the path of holiness that people aspire to, wanting us to be saints and guides who follow the teachings of Jesus."

In a touching gesture of his continued commitment, Pope Francis revealed that he includes the Ukrainian people in his daily prayers before the icon of the Virgin Mary, a precious gift presented to him by Major Archbishop Shevchuk during his earlier years in Buenos Aires.

As the world faces the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Pope Francis' call for a month of dedicated prayer for peace and reconciliation stands as a testament to his unwavering support for the Ukrainian people, a plea for an end to their suffering, and a fervent desire for lasting peace in the region.

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