The Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) has expressed its support in prayer for Pope Francis, who recently called for “weapons to fall silent” in Ukraine and for an end to the war unleashed by the Russian invasion.
“In this time of suffering and anguish, we join you in prayer, so that the weapons fall silent and we can resume the path of dialogue as soon as possible,” the Italian bishops said on March 13 on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of Francis’ pontificate.
The prelates lamented that the anniversary “falls at a dark moment in the history of humanity”, since “winds of war are blowing stronger and stronger at the gates of Europe, bringing death and destruction”.
For several days, Russian soldiers have besieged the city and civilians are trapped with little light, food or heat. Those who do not survive are buried in mass graves that, according to the Ukrainian Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, had not been seen since the Nazi era.
In their message, the prelates of Italy recalled the homily of Pope Francis on March 12, in which he said that “praying is bringing the pulse of today to God so that his gaze opens wide on history”.
“If prayer is alive, it ‘disrupts within’, rekindles the fire of the mission, ignites joy, continuously causes us to allow ourselves to be disturbed by the suffering cry of the world”, they quoted the Holy Father.
Finally, the CEI said that, together with the Churches that are in Italy, they seek to “pray to transform the world in which we are immersed”, “committing ourselves at the same time to work for peace and fraternity”.
“By offering you our best wishes for this anniversary, we renew our faithful closeness to you and entrust your ministry to Mary, Queen of Peace,” he concluded.