The Ukrainian Catholic Bishops in the United States have issued an appeal to clergy, religious and faithful for meditation and fasting for Ukraine.
In their letter, the bishops state “The bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine with Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk have asked their faithful to fast and to pray daily for various intentions, among them, for the President and elected officials of Ukraine, for the conversion of the aggressors, for the Ukrainian army, for those who protect citizens, for the souls of the deceased, and for unity and independence of Ukraine. Let us join them in holy prayer and fasting!
The appeal continues “We, the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of the United States call upon all of our clergy, religious and faithful to pray daily the special prayer for Ukraine provided with this appeal, and to devote precious time for quiet meditation and prayer for the intentions already cited by the bishops of Ukraine. Fast by pausing from our daily activities for an extended amount of time to reflect and pray for the people of Ukraine, and for the specific intentions given above. Meditate on the horrific sufferings of the people of Ukraine, as you pray to God for peace and unity. Pray to the Mother of God for her intercession with her Son, Jesus Christ and for her maternal protection of the people of Ukraine. Pause to identify with the suffering as you pray for peace. Sacrifice valued time and thought in prayer for our brothers and sisters who suffer!
The bishops also ask “that all of our clergy and faithful, following every Divine Liturgy and liturgical service say the Prayer for Peace for Ukraine,” encouraging the faithful to “be steadfast and continue to offer these prayers, fasting and meditation until peace and unity are achieved in Ukraine. ”
This special appeal from the bishops comes at a time when war is escalating in eastern Ukraine.
On Friday, Feb. 6, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, speaking at NATO Headquarters in Brussels stated, “Ukraine is fighting for its very survival right now. Russia continues to escalate the conflict by sending mercenaries and tanks and, as we euphemistically say in the United states, little green men, without patches, very sophisticated special operations soldiers.”
To date, over 5,000 people have been killed during hostilities in eastern Ukraine.
The appeal was signed by Metropolitan Stefan Soroka, Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians and Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States; Bishop Richard Seminack, Eparchy of St. Nicholas in Chicago; Bishop Paul Chomnycky, OSBM, Eparchy of Stamford, Ct.; Bishop Bohdan Danylo, Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma; and Bishop John Bura, Auxiliary Bishop, Archeparchy of Philadelphia.