Pope announces 2 March as day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine

Pope Francis says his heart aches over the situation in Ukraine and announces a “Day of Fasting for Peace” on Ash Wednesday.

By Vatican News staff reporter

During the General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis made a heartfelt appeal for peace in Ukraine, saying that the threat of war had caused “great pain in my heart.”

“Despite the diplomatic efforts of the last few weeks,” the Pope said, “increasingly alarming scenarios are opening up,” with many people all over the world feeling anguish and pain.

““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.””

He also prayed that “all the parties involved refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people, destabilizing coexistence between nations and bringing international law into disrepute.”

Prayer and fasting for peace

Speaking at the end of the General Audience, Pope Francis invited everyone to make 2 March, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace.

“I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war,” he said.

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