February 24 was the one-year commemoration of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
An appeal from the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops in Canada:
To the Reverend Fathers, Religious Sisters, Venerable Monastics, People of Ukrainian Descent, and all People of Good Will:
“You shall not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day…” [ps. 91:5]
Glory be to Jesus Christ!
Dearly Beloved in Christ!
Today, on our calendars we mark a year since a new stage of the Russian-Ukrainian war began with brutal cruelty and destruction, cynicism and falsehood. Every day of the past year has been a repetition of February 24, adding to the bitter statistics of losses and multiplying the grief experienced by many. Thousands of innocent men, women and children have lost their lives; many have been tortured, held in prisons and camps, and forcibly deported. Millions are forced to wander around the world, having lost everything, seeking refuge far from their homes. Many cities and villages have been erased from the face of the earth, leaving only traces in the history and memory of those who lived there. Countless are the deep emotional wounds from the losses, tragic memories, and longing for relatives, inflicted by the war on those who survive and are suffering – especially the children!
This war is not limited to the context of armed battles, but also occurs in the struggle for consciences, spiritual values and ideals with all the evils that war entails. Most importantly, it requires from everyone a clear choice for good or evil. The war challenges us to demonstrate our love for Ukraine, for its God-given freedom, political and human rights. War challenges the very sincerity of our love for our neighbour and the Lord God. Every Ukrainian in and outside of Ukraine is called to discover a deeper awareness of his or her national, political and ethnic identity. The enemy are those who want to stop this process and plant other values which contradict the truths of the Christian faith, the foundations of our spirituality and our Ukrainian identity. And they are looking for all kinds of insidious ways to achieve their goals.
We, the Ukrainian Catholics in Canada, call upon all people of good will to steadfastly resist the spread of the evils of war, the killing of innocent people, and the destruction of the nation of Ukraine. Let us draw our strength from the Lord at all times in our struggle (cf. Ps. 26:1). As the Apostle Paul says , let us gird ourselves with the belt of faith and take the armor of justice, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the spiritual sword to “resist the wiles of the devil” and “against the principalities, against the authorities, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the spirits of malice in the heavenly spaces” (Eph. 6:11-12). Fervent and constant prayer to the Lord is our weapon against which enemy forces are powerless, and with it we draw the grace of God. We pray not to succumb to feelings of hopelessness and oppression, excessive worries and cares (cf. Ps. 137:7).
Let us take the psalmist’s words, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Ps. 118:105) closer to heart and listen to God’s voice in our lives. The word of God teaches us goodness, truth, love, understanding and ability to make right decisions that are sometimes very difficult, especially during times of deep tragedy and loss. In His word, we will find God who is near to us in solidarity, offering us comfort and healing.
Let us continue our works of mercy for the needy in Ukraine and those who seek refuge here in Canada, as a humble manifestation of our sincere faith and for the greater glory of God. In doing so, we share the time and talents with which the Lord has blessed us, knowing that everything will return a hundredfold. By giving temporal goods now, we will receive eternal goods in the future.
In solidarity and compassion with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, who continue to suffer from the lack of food, water and other basic necessities of life due to the ongoing war, let us renew our practice of fasting and abstinence to remind ourselves of the many blessings we enjoy in our peaceful, daily lives here in Canada.
More than ever, we need to support each other through prayer, kind words and good deeds. A person who receives something through you will thank the Lord and praise Him always. “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Heavenly Father” (Mt. 5:16).
The outcome of this war is crucial and will have global significance and consequences. We pray for victory, which will be realized only when we put all our efforts together. Let us unite, pray, and work for the common good! Let this Lenten season be an opportunity to reach new spiritual heights and to better ourselves so that we can carry out our part in bringing to an end the tragedy of war.
May God bless the Ukrainian people both in their homeland and throughout the world. May He grant them the strength of a strong Christian faith, of enduring good health and the support of a multitude of people of good will. May He grant victory over evil and peace to Ukraine!
Sincerely Yours 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
+ Andriy Rabiy, Auxiliary Bishop of Winnipeg
Catholic Bishops of Canada invite all Canadian faithful
to join Pope Francis and to pray for peace
On Friday, 25 March 2022, Pope Francis consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary during the Celebration of Penance in St Peter’s Basilica.
Pope Francis placed the people of Ukraine and Russia under the protection of Mary, the Mother of God, with a special liturgical act. To this end, he will consecrate the two countries to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at a penitential celebration. This act has been well received by the Catholic Bishops in Ukraine
as well as by the Russian Bishops.
God of реасе and justice,
we pray for the реорlе of Ukraine today.
We pray for реaсе and the laying down of weapons.
We pray for аll those who fear for tomorrow,
that your Spirit of comfort would draw near to them.
We pray for those with power over war or реасе,
for wisdom, discernment and compassion to guide their decisions.
Above аll, we pray for аll your precious children, at-risk and in fear, that you would hold and protect them.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Реасе.
Prayers and Donations for the People of Ukraine:
CNEWA – Catholic Near East Welfare Association, founded by the Holy Father, shares the love of Christ with the churches and peoples of the East.
The Ukrainian bishops of Canada are working together with their churches to join CNEWA’s campaign.
To date, CNEWA Canada has raised over $350,000 for Ukraine.
CNEWA Canada, a registered charity. Charitable Registration Number: 86775 7502 RR 0001
Development and Peace
is also accepting donations for relief in Ukraine:
Prayer For Ukraine
O Lord our God, look down with mercy on the Ukrainian people. Protect and save them from the unjust aggressors who seek to subdue them. Grant them steadfast trust in your mercy and protection.
O Mother of God, who gave us your miraculous icon at Zarvanytsia, intercede for the Ukrainian people, who run to the shelter of your mercy in their times of need.
O Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Grant peace and protection to the people of Ukraine. Give them strength and courage to defend what is good, right, and holy. Keep them safe from harm and provide for all their needs, both temporal and spiritual.
Hear our prayers, O Lord, and deliver us from distress, for You are merciful and compassionate and love all people. To You we give glory: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer written by Carrie Chuff, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic mom.
Statement of the Executive Committee
of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Thursday, 24 February 2022
The Executive Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) condemns the escalation of tensions and violence in the Ukraine marked by Russia’s invasion, which was seen today, Thursday, 24 February 2022, in the form of militarization and bombing in various Ukrainian cities.
In solidarity with the Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, in unison with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the people of Ukraine as well as with Canadians of Ukrainian origin and descent, we encourage the faithful and all people of good will to pray for the imminent restoration of peace, dialogue, and human fraternity.
Conscious of the regrettable lessons about violence which we have all learned throughout human history, we implore all involved to pursue non-violent means to resolve disputes and disagreements. The use of military force does not favour dialogue and peace; rather, it endangers innocent human life, the dignity of the human person and the security and safety of all the people caught up in this conflict.
Jesus came to bring the gift of peace, and it is through Him that new pathways of dialogue can be opened, even when all other avenues appear closed. With Pope Francis, who has entrusted this situation to the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, we ask Our Lady, through her powerful intercession, to open hearts so that anger, resentment, and division may start to be healed and that any further escalation of unnecessary violence may be avoided.
Déclaration du Bureau de direction
de la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada sur l’invasion de l’Ukraine par la Russie
Le jeudi 24 février 2022
Le Bureau de direction de la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada (CECC) condamne l’escalade des tensions et de la violence en Ukraine provoquée par l’invasion de la Russie, qui s’est produite aujourd’hui, le jeudi 24 février 2022, sous la forme de militarisation et de bombardements dans diverses villes ukrainiennes.
En solidarité avec le chef de l’Église catholique ukrainienne, Sa Béatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, en union avec le patriarche œcuménique Bartholomée, le peuple de l’Ukraine et les Canadiens d’origine et de descendance ukrainiennes, nous encourageons les fidèles et toutes les personnes de bonne volonté à prier pour le rétablissement imminent de la paix, du dialogue et de la fraternité humaine.
Conscients des leçons regrettables sur la violence que nous avons tous apprises tout au long de l’histoire humaine, nous implorons tous les intervenants à trouver des solutions non violentes pour résoudre les différends et les désaccords. L’usage de la force militaire ne favorise pas le dialogue et la paix; au contraire, il met en danger la vie humaine innocente, la dignité de la personne humaine, ainsi que la sécurité des personnes prises dans ce conflit.
Jésus est venu apporter le don de la paix, et c’est par lui que de nouvelles voies de dialogue peuvent s’ouvrir, même lorsque toutes les autres voies semblent fermées. Avec le pape François, qui a confié cette situation à l’intercession de Marie, la Mère de Dieu, nous demandons à Notre-Dame, par sa puissante intercession, d’ouvrir les cœurs afin que la colère, le ressentiment et la division puissent être guéris et que toute nouvelle montée de violence inutile puisse être évitée.