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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis offered prayers for a summit in France that will seek to bring an end to the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.
War is not easy to experience, but Catholic chaplains are among the hundreds of clergy of different denominations who have addressed the spiritual needs of Ukrainian servicemen since the beginning of the yearlong armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Catholic and Orthodox archbishops in Ukraine appealed for national unity against pro-Russia separatists as calls mounted for the United States to help arm Ukrainian forces.
Ukrainian Catholic leaders have warned their church is being driven underground again, a quarter-century after it was re-legalized with the end of communist rule. "In Crimea and eastern Ukraine, we've already effectively returned to the catacombs," said Father Ihor Yatsiv, the church's Kiev-based spokesman.
As Ukrainians prepared to mark their Aug. 24 Independence Day under the cloud of fierce fighting in the East, Catholic leaders condemned the threat to Ukraine's territorial integrity and prayed for a speedy end to the hostilities.
A Catholic bishop in eastern Ukraine said church members are afraid to attend Mass in Donetsk and other towns after a priest from Poland was abducted by pro-Russia separatists. The priest traveled to Ukraine to renew his Kazakh visa.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an extremely dangerous situation that should be of concern to all Americans, said a prominent Ukrainian Catholic priest.
As uncertainty reigned in Ukraine and Russian troops appeared to have control of the Crimean peninsula, Pope Francis again asked the world's Christians to pray for Ukraine and urged the parties involved in the conflict to engage in dialogue.
After a night of violent confrontations between protesters and police and the deaths of more than two dozen people, Pope Francis and Ukrainian church leaders called Feb. 19 for an end to all violence and a serious commitment to dialogue for the good of Ukraine.
On a Christmas like no other, Pope Francis prayed for people who could not be with their families because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he urged everyone to recognize and help those who are suffering even more.