Pope Announces Day of Prayer and Fasting for UkraineThursday 24th February 2022
Pope Francis has dedicated Wednesday 2 March – Ash Wednesday – as a universal day of prayer and fasting for peace.
The announcement made in Wednesday’s General Audience comes at a time of devastating news from Eastern Europe.
Pope Francis said: “I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.”
The pontiff made a heartfelt appeal for peace in Ukraine, saying that the threat of war had caused “great pain in my heart.”
“Despite the diplomatic efforts of the last few weeks,” the Pope said, “increasingly alarming scenarios are opening up,” with many people all over the world feeling anguish and pain.
He also prayed that “all the parties involved refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people, destabilizing coexistence between nations and bringing international law into disrepute.”
“The day that we have been hoping would never come has arrived.”
Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski, Eparchial Bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the UK, has addressed his community and all people of good will as Russia invades Ukraine.
“The day that we have been hoping would never come has arrived. This morning we woke up to hear the news that Russia has unleashed its troops into an invasion of Ukrainian soil as well as firing missiles into Ukrainian territory.
“We have been inviting people of goodwill to join Ukrainian Catholics in the United Kingdom to pray for peace in Ukraine these last several weeks. I want to thank you all for these prayers and for standing with Ukraine. Now more than ever before your prayers and your acts of solidarity with the Ukrainian people are needed.
“We call upon our government leaders and those in positions of power to remain steadfast in support of Ukraine against those who are waging this war upon the innocent citizens of Ukraine.
“We place the people of Ukraine under the protection of the Holy Family, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, and the holy and righteous St Joseph the Betrothed.”