Bishops in South America encourage day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine

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The bishops of Chile, Paraguay, and Bolivia encouraged the faithful to participate in the day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine called by Pope Francis and to be held around the world on Ash Wednesday, March 2.

Pope Francis made this appeal on Feb. 23, a day before Russia began the invasion of Ukraine.

“The bishops of Chile share the sadness and concern for the war situation that today affects Ukraine and that threatens the peace of Europe and of all humanity,” the Chilean bishops said, encouraging the faithful to "intensify our prayer and our actions for peace and concord."

"We ask Catholics that at our meetings and Eucharists these days, we address a special prayer to God for peace in Ukraine," the bishops of the Standing Committee said.

The Franciscans’ Provincial Office for Justice, Peace and the Wholeness of Creation in Chile, in conjunction with the Conference of Religious Men and Women of Chile, will hold a day of prayer beginning at 8:00 a.m. in Saint Francis Church in Santiago.

Holy Mass will be celebrated first, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which will be exposed throughout the day.

After the 7:30 p.m. Mass, a vigil will be held in the outdoor square to publicly express the rejection of violence and war.

Friar Carlos Paz, Provincial of the Holy Trinity of Chile, said that participating "bears witness as consecrated men and women" and as "witnesses and promoters of peace."

He also encouraged Eucharistic Adoration and priests to participate in scheduled Masses.

The Paraguayan bishops expressed their deep sorrow for "the violent death and the anguish and uncertainty surrounding many Ukrainian and Russian families."

“It’s sad to see so many innocent people, including mothers, fathers, children and grandparents who are desperate and don’t know what to do or where to go. It deeply pains us to see entire populations that must leave their lands and flee in panic from the armed confrontation that can be avoided with dialogue,” they said. 

The Paraguayan bishops encouraged believers to join in prayer, "each one from our own particular place, for peace and for the cessation of the war unleashed between two brother countries, Russia and Ukraine.”

"Let us ask for peace and tranquility for everyone, and in particular, for the most vulnerable: families, children and the elderly who are in the conflict zone."

They also asked the Lord to enlighten "the leaders of the disputing countries that they may succeed in settling their differences through democratic mechanisms, committed to sincere dialogue, leaving petty interests aside."

The bishops prayed that the war zone would become “a place for dialogue, harmony and respect, where wounds, fears and divisions are overcome and human brotherhood prospers. Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, we ask for your maternal intercession so that peace may reign in Ukraine and throughout the world.”

The Bolivian Bishops’ Conference said that “no cause justifies violence that only brings death and suffering. Only dialogue is the way to resolve conflicts and to live in peace.”

The Bolivian bishops encouraged solidarity "with the victims of this deadly conflict" through fasting and prayer "for the cessation of such hostilities."

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"May the God of peace and not of war, who is the Father of all, who wants us to be brothers and not enemies, enlighten the consciences of all those who have political responsibilities to stop this madness of war," the bishops prayed.

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