Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, on Thursday encouraged the undertaking of prayer and fasting for an end to the Ukraine conflict.
Russian military entered Ukraine at several points on Thursday, and missile strikes on military targets and cities were also reported. Thousands of Ukrainians have already sought refuge in the country’s western neighbors.
“On behalf of my brother bishops, I echo the Holy Father’s call for prayer and fasting to end the war in Ukraine. In times of trouble, we call on the tender mercy of God … to guide our feet to the way of peace (Lk 1:78-79). May our prayers, joined with those of people around the world, help guide those waging war to end the meaningless suffering and restore peace,” Archbishop Gomez said Feb. 24.
The message of the conference president was joined by similar statements from other bishops in the U.S.
Bishop Robert Brennan of Brooklyn said, “We pray indeed for the people of Ukraine; we pray for people from our own Diocese here in Brooklyn from the Ukrainian community. We join with them in prayers for the nation of Ukraine, but we also pray for the larger Peace of the world. We turn to the Lord in our moment of need. We ask the Lord to watch over and protect those who are in harm’s way, and also, we pray that it does not escalate.”
In Oklahoma City, Archbishop Paul Coakley commented that “Today, our world is again facing the unnecessary suffering of war. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who are facing devastation, fear and disruption of their families and faith communities. Pray that leaders of nations recognize the humanity of all peoples and work to resolve conflicts through diplomatic solutions. Pray for the young men and women sent into battle and for their families. Let us not become discouraged or afraid and instead trust in the Lord for healing and true peace.”
And Bishop Walker Nickless of Sioux City said: “We ask our Blessed Mother, Mary, Queen of Peace to pray for us for an end to war. I ask the faithful of the Diocese of Sioux City and all people of good will to pray for the people of Ukraine in this difficult time.”
Bishop Nickless directed churches in the diocese to “ring bells at 3 p. m. to call all to prayer” at that time “for peace, for Russia to cease their aggression and to withdraw to their own borders, or President Biden and all world leaders to collectively work for world peace,” and “for our military men and women who serve at home and abroad and for their families.”