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A believer attends a liturgy at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv Jan. 26, 2022. (CNS photo/Valentyn Ogirenko, Reuters)

With rising tensions in the region and the threat of a possible Russian-Ukrainian conflict spreading, Pope Francis established Jan. 26 as a day of prayer for peace in Ukraine. The pope appealed for an end to all war and prayed that dialogue, the common good and reconciliation would prevail.

The pope said that as people remember the Holocaust on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, also “think about the more than 5 million people who were annihilated (in Ukraine) during the time of the last war. They are a suffering people, they suffered famine, they suffered so much cruelty and they deserve peace.”

Let us ask the Lord to grant that the country may grow in the spirit of brotherhood, and that all hurts, fears and divisions will be overcome.

Russia annexed Crimea in early 2014 and, shortly afterward, Russian-backed separatists began fighting Ukrainian government forces in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Some 1.5 million people have fled the region to other parts of Ukraine and thousands of civilians and soldiers have died or been injured.

While in the spring of 2021 Russia was accused by many Western nations of trying to provoke more active fighting by holding military exercises near the border, a massive Russian buildup of troops just over the border created alarm in early December. The buildup has continued and, late Jan. 22, Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office released a statement saying it had evidence that Russia was developing plans to install a pro-Russian government in Ukraine.

Prayer for Peace in Ukraine


I ask you to pray the Our Father for peace in Ukraine, now and throughout this Day.

Let us ask the Lord to grant that the country may grow in the spirit of brotherhood, and that all hurts, fears and divisions will be overcome.

We have spoken about the Holocaust. But let us think too that [in Ukraine] millions of people were killed [1932-1933].

They are a people who have suffered; they have suffered from hunger, suffered from much brutality and they deserve peace.

May the prayers and supplications that today rise up to heaven touch the minds and hearts of world leaders, so that dialogue may prevail and the common good be placed ahead of partisan interests.

Please, no more war.

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