Bishop Robert Gruss is calling upon all people of good will throughout the Diocese of Saginaw to answer Pope Francis’ call for prayer and fasting on Ash Wednesday, March 2, to end the war in Ukraine.
“I am shocked by such a premeditated invasion of Ukraine and deeply saddened by the lives lost and the sufferings of the Ukrainian people,” Bishop Gruss said. “Please join me in answering the Holy Father’s call. May we be united in our prayer and fasting as we offer support to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. May our prayers, joined with the prayers of people from around the world, change the hearts of those waging this unjust war and restore peace and a free and independent Ukranian state.”
At the conclusion of his general audience Feb. 23, Pope Francis called on believers and non-believers to combat the “diabolical insistence, the diabolical senselessness of violence” with prayer and fasting:
“And now I would like to appeal to everyone, believers and non-believers alike,” Pope Francis said. “Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God's weapons, with prayer and fasting. I invite everyone to make next 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.”
Pope Francis' Prayer for Peace
Lord God of peace, hear our prayer!
We have tried so many times and over so many years
to resolve our conflicts by our own powers and by the force of our arms.
How many moments of hostility and darkness have we experienced?
how much blood has been shed?
how many lives have been shattered?
how many hopes have been buried?
But our efforts have been in vain.
Now, Lord, come to our aid!
Grant us peace, teach us peace;
guide our steps in the way of peace.
Open our eyes and our hearts,
and give us the courage to say: "Never again war!"; "With war everything is lost".
Instill in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace.
Lord, God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Love,
you created us and you call us to live as brothers and sisters.
Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace;
enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister.
Make us sensitive to the plea of our citizens
who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into implements of peace,
our trepidation into confident trust,
and our quarreling into forgiveness.
Keep alive within us the flame of hope,
so that with patience and perseverance
we may opt for dialogue and reconciliation.
In this way may peace triumph at last,
and may the words "division," "hatred," and "war"
be banished from the heart of every man and woman.
Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands.
Renew our hearts and minds,
so that the word which always brings us together will be "brother,"
and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam!