United with people of good will around the world, our hearts break when we are shown the images of an unthinkable number of Ukrainians being displaced and even killed as a result of the brazen attack on their country perpetrated by the Russian government. It has been comforting to see the loud and clear condemnation of these actions by leaders and countries around the globe. It is inspiring as well to observe the selfless heroism of brave Ukrainians risking their lives in defense of their freedoms, liberty, and their democratic way of life.
Over 4,000 miles away, it may seem that there is little of substance we can do in Maine to help end this war, but that is not true. I ask Maine Catholics and all people of goodwill to accompany me as I join with Pope Francis and faithful from around the world in making March 2, Ash Wednesday, a day of prayer and fasting for peace in the Ukraine. As the Holy Father has said, it will serve as “a day to be close to the sufferings of the Ukrainian people, to feel that we are all brothers and sisters, and to implore of God the end of the war.” In addition, if you are able to financially support the many Ukrainian families and individuals in need of assistance, Catholic Relief Services is on the ground and helping provide basic necessities for those living in the country as well as those fleeing to neighboring countries for safety. To learn more about their efforts or to contribute, visit https://support.crs.org/donate/donate-ukraine.
God is with those who serve and promote peace, not those who turn to violence to gain power. Join me in praying for the innocent as well as those providing help to them, including the Catholic Church of Poland. In the words of the Ukrainian Bishop of Parma, Ohio, Bohdan Danylo, “Pray for those suffering in Ukraine, pray for the displaced people, pray for the Ukrainian armed forces, pray for the international community, and say a prayer for the man who can stop this today.”