Praying for Ukraine

May God’s Divine Spirit look after the people of Ukraine during these trying times. We pray that a peaceful resolution be achieved for them and their nation. Que el Espíritu Divino de Dios Padre atienda al pueblo de Ucrania en estos momentos turbulentos. Oremos para que el pueblo y su nación alcance una resolución pacífica.

Rev. Vasyl Miziuk, Pastor of St. Andrew Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Holy Wisdom parishes in Sacramento, recently joined Bishop Jaime Soto to share a message about the situation in Ukraine. Below is the English transcript of Rev. Miziuk's message:

As the new pastor of St. Andrew Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Holy Wisdom parishes in Sacramento I wish to thank Bishop Soto for inviting us to provide some insights on the dangerous situation today In Ukraine and to request prayers for God’s intercession for peace in Ukraine and the world.

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, recently said  that the pope’s initiative underlined that “if ever a conflict would break in Ukraine, it would be a threat not only to Ukraine but to the whole world.”

Amid a build-up of Russian troops on the border of Ukraine, a country of 44 million people, Pope Francis called for a day of prayer for peace on Jan. 26.

Since the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” in 2014, Ukraine has faced enduring conflict. Following the Russian annexation of Crimea, the war is ongoing in the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Pope Francis has consistently shown his concern for the Ukrainian people. In 2016, he launched a charitable project, known as “The Pope for Ukraine,” that has helped more than a million people. The pope has been active in his commitment to peace in Ukraine and the region by conducting various meetings and conferences to the present time.

Major Archbishop Shevchuk said that the proclamation of a day of prayer for Ukraine “was for us like the Christmas Star that came to shine out of the dark.” He then said, “We are grateful to the pope, who heard our voice and reaffirmed that the situation here is serious. Not only Ukraine but humanity would suffer if a conflict broke out.”

He explained that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church — the largest of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome — organized a chain of prayer on Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, during which “all of our eparchies, metropolitan churches, monasteries from all over the world will join in prayer with us in Ukraine.”Shevchuk said that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which has eparchies and exarchates in four continents, was already engaged in praying for peace.

“Every day, we pray the rosary for peace at 8 p.m., which is broadcast live on television. In addition, every day of the week, according to a rotation, an eparchy or exarchate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church commits to fasting for peace,” he noted.

Churches and religious organizations are cooperating for the good of the people, at every level: they help to find missing people, they negotiate the liberation of hostages, they commit to providing humanitarian assistance to those in need. Asked if ecumenical efforts in the country could work as a “track to diplomacy,” Shevchuk replied that the council is currently drafting a declaration.

“The declaration will be first of all addressed to the faithful. We want to prevent their panic, as panic is the worst enemy in this hybrid war we are living in. Because of panic, people bought all food supplies, withdrew money from the bank system, and carried on a series of initiatives that can lead society to collapse,” Shevchuk said.

He added that “as churches, entrusted with a moral authority, we must address the issues of people who are suffering, because living with the fear of losing everything tomorrow is one of the greatest tortures.”

Today, our Ukrainian community in Sacramento reaches out to all our Catholic brethren to remember Ukraine and its people in your prayers. May our Divine Lord intercede with a gift of reason for the aggressors who wish to destabilize Ukrainian independence and peaceful governance. Let us all raise our voices in our request for peace in Ukraine and the world.