Instead of Carnival! Prayers for Ukraine

Last Friday Pope Francis left the confines of the Vatican went straight to the Russian embassy and spent over a half-hour there and without further comment from either side. That’s highly unusual as he would have summoned the ambassador to his residence if he wanted to speak to him.

Reviewing Francis’ previous contacts with President Putin, there’s a history there that could possibly lead to further diplomacy. He asked for prayers for Ukraine and fasting on Ash Wednesday which is two days from now, but did not speak of Russia at all.

So, I forgo my usual post for Mardi Gras and Carnival down I Rio and New Orleans as I usually do two days before Lent begins and just follow Pope Francis’ request for prayers for the faith-filled peoples of Ukraine—most of whom are either Orthodox Christians not affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church or the Greek Catholic Church.

Appel of Our Holy Father

My heart aches greatly at the worsening situation in Ukraine. Despite the diplomatic efforts of the last few weeks, increasingly alarming scenarios are opening up. Like me, many people all over the world are feeling anguish and concern. Once again the peace of all is threatened by partisan interests. I would like to appeal to those with political responsibility to examine their consciences seriously before God, who is the God of peace and not of war; who is the Father of all, not just of some, who wants us to be brothers and not enemies. I pray that all the parties involved refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people, destabilizing coexistence between nations and bringing international law into disrepute.

And now I would like to appeal to everyone, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God’s weapons, with prayer and fasting. I invite everyone to make next March 2nd, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace. I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.

~ Franciscus

And before you go, here’s the Ukrainian choir that appeared at the opening of Saturday Night Live! the other night.

With love,

Bob Traupman

Contemplative Writer

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