Today, September 14, churches and dioceses across Europe are joining as one for a day of Eucharistic Adoration and prayer for peace in Ukraine. The continent-wide event was organized by the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE), which provided downloadable files of the liturgical prayers for the day.
Thanks to this, we all can pray on this feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, in unity with the European Church for an end to the war. The PDF includes the day’s readings, intercessions, a Litany of Peace, Benediction, and an original “Prayer for Ukraine,” penned by Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Holy Family of London.
According to the announcement on the CCEE website, the initiative was inspired by the appeal of Pope Francis to “be a builder of peace and to pray that thoughts and plans of concord and reconciliation will spread in the world.” The bishops note that they have repeatedly joined their voices with the Pope’s in pleas for an immediate end to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
In the months since the war began in February 2022, the CCEE has been appealing to world leaders and international communities to do all they can to end the war. In their message, they note that the war “is destroying lives and causing untold suffering.”
According to the United Nations, the war in Ukraine has claimed the lives of 5,327 civilians and injured 7,256 more, as well as causing more than seven million to flee their homes.
The CCEE’s initiative comes after the Bishops’ Conference of the Roman Catholic Rite in Ukraine has declared 2022 the Year of the Holy Cross. The Ukrainian bishops wrote in a letter marking the beginning of the Year of the Holy Cross:
“Starting from February 24, since Russia attacked Ukraine, we are walking a painful road of the cross, on which innocent people suffer, are wounded and killed, there is a lot of evil, a lot of suffering! At this time, we feel more acutely than ever what violence against the innocent is, what the crucifixion of the innocent is. Now more than ever we understand Jesus Christ on His Way of the Cross, we understand His suffering and death as an innocent Lamb who was crucified by people who gave themselves to the service of evil.”
Year of the Holy Cross
The European day of prayer for Ukraine, September 14, will coincide with the end of the Year of the Holy Cross. The CCEE notes that all Roman Catholic bishops of Ukraine will be participating in the day of prayer from the Shrine of the Lord’s Passion in Sharhorod.
They will be joined in their prayers by prelates, clerics, and faithful from Catholic communities from 25 European nations who have pledged their support. These include Italy, Malta, Germany, Lithuania, Ireland, France, Germany, Albania, Poland, Slovakia, and many more.
The CCEE has gone further to make the service and prayers available for download. This gives the faithful around the world a chance to participate in and extend the prayers throughout the day, from wherever they are.
Catholics in the Americas are encouraged to visit their own local parishes to pray in unity with our brothers and sisters across the pond.