Chilling headlines emerge each day from Ukraine as bombings continue, civilian casualties mount, and those who remain are running low on crucial supplies of food and medicine.
“Rivers of blood and tears are flowing in Ukraine,” said Pope Francis after his Angelus address this week in Rome.
The Holy Father has asked the faithful to pray and fast for peace between Russia and Ukraine and for an end to the horrific violence taking place there. He specifically called for humanitarian aid to be provided for Ukrainians and refugees fleeing the war zones.
“I make a heartfelt appeal for humanitarian corridors to be genuinely secured, and for aid to be guaranteed and access facilitated to the besieged areas, in order to offer vital relief to our brothers and sisters oppressed by bombs and fear,” he said.
Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has paid special attention to the plight of refugees across the globe, and the same can be said for the war taking place in Ukraine. He thanked nations who have taken in refugees and provided assistance to the many mothers and children seeking refuge.
He emphasized, “Above all, I implore that the armed attacks cease and that negotiation – and common sense – prevail. And that international law be respected once again!”
In his address, the Pope showed appreciation to journalists who have risked their lives in this conflict, calling their actions a “service that allows us to be close to the tragedy of that population and enables us to assess the cruelty of a war.”
Pope Francis called upon the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Ukraine, to bring peace and change the hearts of leaders who have chosen a path of violence and hatred.
The Holy See very recently sent two Cardinals to Ukraine—Cardinal Krajewski, to bring aid to those in need, and Cardinal Czerny, interim Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The Cardinals traveled on behalf of the Pope to provide assistance and to raise awareness of the cruelty taking place there.
The Holy Father vowed that the Vatican “is ready to do everything, to put itself at the service of this peace.”
Let us also put ourselves at the service of peace, offering sacrifices and prayers during this Lenten season for peace to prevail and the atrocities of war to cease.