Pope Francis has asked Catholics around the world to pray for peace in Ukraine today.
The Pope said on 23 January: “I am following with concern the rising tensions that threaten to strike a new blow at peace in Ukraine and put into question the security of the European continent, with even wider repercussions.
“I make a heartfelt appeal to all people of good will to pray to Almighty God that all political actions and initiatives will serve human fraternity rather than partisan interests.
The Holy Father stated that ‘those who pursue their interests by damaging others are in contempt of his vocation as a man, because we are all created as brothers.’
“For this reason and with concern given the current tensions, I propose that next Wednesday, Jan. 26, be a day of prayer for peace,” the Holy Father said.
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk has declared support for the prayer day.
The major archbishop said: “Pray. Wherever you are or will be, say a prayer with this intention [for peace].
“May God accept our prayers, fasting and penance.
“May our prayer for peace in Ukraine and the whole world be stronger than the weapon.”
The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has also joined Pope Francis in encouraging prayers.
Magda Kaczmarek, head of ACN projects in Ukraine, said: “ACN is very happy to join the appeal of Pope Francis to pray for Ukraine.
“We should pray – please show your solidarity and, if you want, please fast with us.”