Pastoral letter calling for prayer, fasting and action for Ukraine – Development and Peace

By the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of Canada

Ukrainian refugees warming up in a tent. (Philipp Spalek/Caritas Germany, Caritas internationalis)

As winter approaches, Development and Peace — Caritas Canada joins other Catholic organizations in supporting this appeal by the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of Canada to provide further away humanitarian aid to war victims.


Pastoral letter

to the clergy, religious and faithful

of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada

and to all the good people

The war in Ukraine: A call to prayer, fasting and action

Dear devotees,

The war in Ukraine rages on with no end in sight, claiming the lives of thousands of children, innocent men and women, with millions more refugees seeking safety, food, shelter, clothing and medicines, in addition to the destruction of countless homes, schools, hospitals and businesses. As winter approaches, hundreds of thousands of people will have no heating in their homes, as energy is used as a weapon of punishment.

Ukraine and its people are in crisis. Like the Holodomor genocide, the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933, which claimed the lives of millions of people in Ukraine when the Soviet Union deliberately and methodically starved up to a quarter of the Ukrainian population, the war in Ukraine today by foreign aggressors intends to erase the identity and history of the Ukrainian people – a genocide in the making.

In light of the recent intensified attacks, let us renew our focus on the plight of the Ukrainian people in an effort to continue to “stand with Ukraine”.

In particular, let us renew our efforts to pray, fast and act.

Pray

Prayer is the privilege and duty of every person, whereby we worship and praise the Lord God and share our immediate needs and concerns.

We, the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops in Canada, invite you to renew your efforts to pray daily for peace in Ukraine.

Pray for those enduring war, defending their country and nation, living in fear and forced to flee their homes.

Let us pray for those who died in war, and for those who died today and will die tomorrow.

Let us pray:

O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, we beg you to hear the fervent prayer of your beloved Church of Kyivan Rus’ for her afflicted children dwelling in the land of Ukraine. Deliver your vulnerable people from unjust aggressors, alien invasion and the terror of war. O Lord with a good heart, as you are our peace, soften the hearts of the ruthless and convert those who promote hostilities towards reconciliation, so that your beloved children of the land of Ukraine may dwell in this tranquility, this justice and that freedom which reflects your Kingdom, where you reign with your Eternal Father and your most holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and forever and ever. Amen.

Young

The centuries-old practice of fasting is a means of spiritual growth and purity of heart.

By fasting, we remember Adam and Eve’s failure to fast on the forbidden fruit, thus leading to their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Through fasting, we decide to renew our lives according to the ways and laws of God.

We, the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops in Canada, invite you to fast for the people of Ukraine and for peace in their country. Like the Ukrainian Holodomor famine of 1932-1933, many people in Ukraine today do not have food. In solidarity with them, let us fast.

In particular, we invite you to a three-day fast beginning Thursday, November 24 and ending Saturday, November 26, when we commemorate the Holodomor each year across Canada.

Quick as best you can. For some this will only mean bread and water, for some no sweets, for others only one meal a day. Whichever way you choose to fast, unite your thoughts and prayers before the Lord for the peace of the Ukrainian people.

Stock

Almsgiving is a charitable way of expressing gratitude to God for the bounty of God’s blessings in our daily lives.

Almsgiving is also a way to identify with the needs of others and respond to them in a meaningful way.

We, the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops in Canada, acknowledge and thank you for your unprecedented generosity in providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine. May God bless your kindness and generosity!

Yet today, as winter approaches, the Ukrainian people increasingly need your support.

We invite you to consider a new donation of humanitarian aid so that the people of Ukraine can have the basic necessities in life that each of us enjoys – food, shelter, clothing and medicine, as well as heating for their homes this winter.

Please donate through your local parish, Catholic Near East Welfare Association – Canada (CNEWA), Development and Peace – Caritas Canada, Aid to the Church in Need – Canada, Canadian Jesuits International or Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Conclusion

The purpose of this pastoral letter has been to raise awareness of the ongoing war in Ukraine and to invite you to prayer, fasting and action for our brothers and sisters who desperately need your support.

These are not easy times. The whole world is uncomfortable.

Yet together we can make a difference in the lives of millions of children, men and women who rely on you.

May God bless you and your family with health, peace, love and joy.

Sincerely in Christ,

+ Lawrence Huculak, OSBM, Metropolitan Archbishop of Winnipeg; Apostolic Administrator of Saskatoon

+ David Motiuk, Eparchial Bishop of Edmonton; Apostolic Administrator of New Westminster

+ Bryan Bayda, CSsR, Eparchial Bishop of Toronto


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