Prayers for Ukraine

Ukrainian Catholics gathered to worship as usual – but also to pray for peace in their troubled homeland – at St. Michael’s Church in Cherry Hill on Sunday, Feb. 23.
“Many of you have family still in Ukraine, and may even have lost family in the violence that has taken place this week,” Father Paul Makar, pastor, said in a message to church members.
He noted that many of his flock lived through “Soviet oppression and cruelty in the past” or know of the suffering of their ancestors.
In Ukraine, three months of protests recently ended with bloodshed. Snipers opened fire on protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square Feb. 19, killing at least 70 people. President Viktor Yanukovich, who sparked the protests by deciding not to sign an agreement with the European Union but forge closer ties with Russia, left Ukraine’s capital Feb. 21, and the country’s parliament voted to remove him from office the same day.
Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych said the recent violence strengthened the commitment to democracy of many Ukrainians, but also left the country vulnerable to further violence and division.
During the Divine Liturgy in Cherry Hill, Father Makar led the congregation in a Prayer for Peace in Ukraine, imploring the Holy Spirit to “inspire men and women in Ukraine to become peacemakers.”

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