Vatican City, Feb 25, 2022 / 09:55 am (CNA).
Polish Catholics prayed on Thursday for an end to the Ukraine conflict at the tomb of St. John Paul II.
Archbishop Grzegorz Ryś of Łódź celebrated the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Feb. 24, hours after Russian forces surged into Ukraine.
The Archdiocese of Łódź, central Poland, said that about 60 priests concelebrated the Mass, including the papal almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.
“Let us fervently ask during this Eucharist for peace, for those who are suffering in Ukraine,” Ryś said at the start of the Mass.
John Paul II, who led the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005, became the first pope in modern times to visit Ukraine in 2001.
Speaking at Kyiv International Airport on June 23, 2001, he said: “I embrace you all, beloved Ukrainians, from Donetsk to Lviv, from Kharkiv to Odessa and to Simferopol! In the very name Ukraine there is a reminder of the greatness of your Country which, with its history, bears witness to its unique vocation as the frontier and gate between East and West.”
“Down the centuries this country has been the privileged crossroads of different cultures, the meeting place of the spiritual treasures of East and West.”
He added: “Ukraine has a clearly European vocation, emphasized also by the Christian roots of your culture. My hope is that these roots will strengthen your national unity, bringing the life-blood of authentic and shared values to the reforms now under way.”
Photographs courtesy of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.