By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor
As Lent begins, Catholics in the United States are asked to pray for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Ukraine.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz issued a statement March 4 calling for a peaceful resolution that “secures the just and fundamental human rights of a long-suffering, oppressed people.”
“The bishops of the United States, together with tens of millions of U.S. Catholics of Eastern European descent, join Pope Francis in solidarity and prayers for the people of Ukraine for an end to the current tensions and troubling events which continue to unfold there,” he said in the statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The archbishop, president of the USCCB, said that Catholics in Ukraine have experienced persecution and at times were banned from practicing their faith.
“For this reason, we raise our voice in defense of religious liberty in Ukraine, a liberty further threatened by the invasive actions occurring in the country,” the archbishop said.
He praised “Ukrainian Greek and Latin Catholic leaders, who stand firm for human rights and democracy.”
His comments followed a call from Pope Francis who, on March 2, asked the faithful to pray for Ukraine.
“I hope that all sectors of the country will endeavor to overcome misunderstandings and build the future of the nation together,” he said. “I make a heartfelt appeal to the international community to support every initiative in favor of dialogue and harmony.”