Ukrainian Catholic bishops in the United States ask for prayers for peace in their homeland – Catholic World Report

Military chaplaincy in eastern Ukraine, 2015. / Aid to the Church in need.

Philadelphia, PA, Feb. 14, 2022 / 5:05 p.m. (CNA).

The bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States issued a statement asking for prayers on Saturday as the potential for increased conflict in Ukraine comes to a head.

“Over the past few weeks, the world has come to realize that democratic Ukraine and its freedom-loving people are increasingly surrounded by hostile military forces that are vulnerable to invasion,” the Feb. 12 statement said.

The statement was co-signed by Archparch Borys Gudziak, Archbishop of Philadelphia, Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States; Eparchs Paul Chomnycky, OSBM of Stamford, Benedict Aleksiychuk of St. Nicholas in Chicago and Bohdan J. Danylo of St. Josaphat in Parma; and Andriy Rabiy, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia.

“We pray for the safety and courage of the Ukrainian people. We admire their faith and courage,” the eparchies said. “We implore the Lord to save the country and its people from another invasion.”

The bishops warned that “the full escalation of the Kremlin-led eight-year war will result in devastating bloodshed and untold human suffering,” millions of people will be displaced and tens of thousands may die.

“The economic and political shockwaves of social devastation and material destruction in Ukraine will be global,” the Bishops said.

Over the past week, the situation in Ukraine has become more difficult as the threat of a full-scale Russian invasion looms. More than 100,000 Russian troops gathered at the Ukrainian border.

The United States announced on February 11 that all American citizens in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible. Most of the employees of the American embassy in Kyiv were evacuated on February 12.

The bishops said they were not writing the statement “as politicians or strategists,” but rather as pastors and believers.

“We call on you and all people of good will to pray for peace and justice in Ukraine,” the statement said.

They further requested that all Ukrainian Greek Catholic parishes, religious communities, families, as well as individual faithful begin “a three-day prayer vigil for peace and the conversion of the hearts of those who preach violence and aggravate the war” from February 1. 13.

“The Ukrainian faithful of all faiths have witnessed miracles,” the bishops said, noting that in recent history the iron curtain came down, the “Soviet prison of nations” was dissolved and the churches were released.

These things “happened without war or bloodshed,” the bishops noted.

When the bishops announced their request for a prayer vigil with about a day’s notice, they said it could be observed “in any way possible” for families, parishes and communities. Bishops have suggested that churches be open all day.

“Lead and participate in services, pray the Jesus Prayer, the Marian Rosary, the Paraclesis, sit with the scriptures,” the statement read. “Fast to focus on the hope that only God gives.”

“Pray and be full of hope,” the bishops said. “Share this hope. Know the Lord and God’s love for the world!

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