Like many of you, I am saddened and heartbroken by the humanitarian crisis that continues to unfold in Ukraine. Our world should be long past the need for anyone to wake up at 5 a.m. to the sound of explosions, rocket attacks and air raid sirens.
I ask you to join me in praying for peace, an immediate end to the Russian invasion, and a respect for international law. I also ask you to join me in praying for the more than 40 million innocent women, men and children currently living in Ukraine, and most especially the victims of this conflict and their families.
On behalf of the clergy, deacons, consecrated religious and lay faithful of the Diocese of Scranton, I express our firm solidarity with Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrainians here in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania and in Ukraine itself.
Now more than ever, our world is in need of healing and hope. I also urge everyone to participate in the call of Pope Francis to make March 2, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace. As Our Holy Father has said, ‘May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.’
The following prayer is very dear to the Ukrainian people. I suggest that it be offered on their behalf.
We fly to Your patronage, O Virgin Mother of God.
Despise not our prayers in our needs,
but deliver us from all dangers, since you alone are pure and blessed. O most glorious ever-Virgin Mary,
the Mother of Christ our God, accept our prayers
and present them to Your Son and our God,
that for the sake of you, He enlighten and save our souls.
Bishop Joseph C. Bambera
Diocese of Scranton
Editors Note: Various Catholic agencies, including the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia and the international Caritas confederation, have already started to collect donations to aid with the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, as people flee to escape Russian bombing and shelling. For a list of agencies, please visit dioceseofscranton.org.