The Pope is once again asking everyone, faithful and lay, to set aside time to pray and fast for peace in Ukraine.
POPE Francis on Wednesday said that he felt a “great pain in my heart” over the situation in Ukraine and announces a “Day of Fasting for Peace” on Ash Wednesday, March 2.
During the General Audience, the Catholic leader made an appeal for peace asking “all parties involved to refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people, destabilizing coexistence between nations and bringing international law into disrepute.”
He then invited everyone to “dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting” on March 2 which he has called a Day of Fasting for Peace.
Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he recognizes the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Lugansk and Donetsk as independent entities.
The two regions are run by Russian-backed separatists but include land currently held by Ukrainian armed forces.
According to the Ukrainian military on Tuesday, one soldier was killed and six others wounded due to the increased shelling by pro-Russian separatists.
Come Thursday, February 24, Putin has ordered troops into the pro-Russian regions firing missiles in several cities saying the operation is a "demilitarization" and "denazification" of Ukraine.
The Pope recalled that when he was 12 years old, it was a Ukrainian bishop in Buenos Aires who taught him how to be an altar server and read the Ukrainian alphabet.
In 2016, he launched the charitable project “The Pope for Ukraine” that has helped more than a million people.
This is the second day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine that Pope Francis has called since the crisis began to escalate. The first was on January 26.
“Once again the peace of all is threatened by partisan interests,” he stressed.
Pope Francis appealed 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.”
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