“In the name of God, I ask: Stop this massacre,”
With those words last Sunday, Pope Francis appealed for an end to the war in Ukraine. That war has been weighing down on us the last few weeks. We have felt sorrow or anger or even helpless as we see a people suffer so much. After reciting the Angelus a week ago, our Holy Father offered these words:
Brothers and sisters, we have just prayed to the Virgin Mary. This weekend, the city that bears her name, Mariupol, has become a city martyred by the ruinous war that is devastating Ukraine. Faced with the barbarism of the killing of children, and of innocent and defenseless citizens, there are no strategic reasons that hold up: the only thing to be done is to cease the unacceptable armed aggression before the city is reduced to a cemetery. With an aching heart I add my voice to that of the common people, who implore the end of the war. In the name of God, listen to the cry of those who suffer, and put an end to the bombings and the attacks! Let there be real and decisive focus on the negotiations, and let the humanitarian corridors be effective and safe. In the name of God, I ask you: stop this massacre!Pope Francis, Angelus, 3/13/22
We cannot cease to pray for Ukraine. Many of you have probably been asking, “what can we do to help?” As you can imagine, it is very difficult to deliver supplies and aid to a war-torn area, but thankfully Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Ukraine have been on the ground since the invasion started helping the people. As Providence would have it, next week is our annual collection for Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Here is the appeal from their website and a summary of what Caritas is currently doing there:
Your help is needed in Ukraine where there are already more than 2.9 million people in need of assistance! There is great risk of additional suffering both within Ukraine and for those who are fleeing to neighboring countries for safety. CRS and our partners need immediate support to meet both ongoing needs as the situation intensifies. Years of conflict along the eastern border have already displaced 1.3 million people from their homes and claimed 14,000 lives and now 2.3 million people have fled Ukraine. Almost ninety percent of the refugees are women and children. Throughout this time, Caritas Ukraine, with support from CRS, has been providing emergency relief and recovery. CRS and Caritas partners on the ground are preparing across Ukraine and in bordering countries, providing safe shelter, hot meals, hygiene supplies, transport to safe areas, counseling support and more. The situation there is rapidly unfolding, and we could not do this work without your help. When you donate, you provide immediate assistance for your Ukrainian sisters and brothers affected by this crisis. Your prayers and support will make so much difference.
Next weekend during the second collection, we will have an opportunity to give to Catholic Relief Services and try and make a difference in the lives of our suffering brothers and sister in Ukraine. If you would like to give directly to this cause today, simply visit www.crs.org and you can give directly to the relief efforts. Catholic Relief Services is one of the charities that I contribute to the most because of the direct help they offer around the world to people suffering from war and natural disasters. Let us continue to pray as a community for an end to the war and to the humanitarian crisis that cries out to God.
God bless you all,