LVIV, Ukraine (CNS) — Catholics in Ukraine feel the prayers of Christians around the world, said Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
“We do not just believe, but feel the power of your prayer, which stops the war and is the source of our optimism (and) hope that together we will defeat evil, and peace will bless our homeland,” the archbishop said Sept. 14, a special day designated by European bishops as a day of prayer for Ukraine.
Noting that Latin-rite Catholics marked the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross that day, Archbishop Shevchuk said: “It’s in the crucified Savior that Europe and the believing world see today crucified (in) Ukraine. His Holiness Pope Francis, whom we accompany to Kazakhstan in prayer, invites Christian believers on this day to see the wounds of the crucified Savior in the wounds of Ukraine.”
He thanked Lithuanian Archbishop Gintaras Grusas of Vilnius, president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, for planning the day of prayer, in which people were encouraged to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament to pray for peace in Ukraine.
European bishops repeatedly have joined Pope Francis in calling for weapons to be silenced, war to be ended, and for efforts to promote peace.
Ukraine’s Latin-rite bishops declared 2022 the Year of the Holy Cross, and the special year closed Sept. 14. The bishops gathered at the Sanctuary of the Passion of the Lord in Shargorod for Mass.
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner who is visiting Ukraine as a papal envoy for the fourth time since the Feb. 24 Russian invasion, conveyed his greetings to everyone in the Mass and prayed for peace in Ukraine.