Marc Murphy, a celebrated chef and son of some good friends of mine, is currently on the Polish-Ukraine border and helping to prepare meals for 2,500 plus refugees a day. He was interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. His Dad sent me this link:
At 5 pm today, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin will celebrate a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for peace in Ukraine. Members of the diplomatic corps will be in attendance.
Yesterday, Pope Francis announced the March 25th Consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in ceremonies in Rome and Fatima in both Russian and Ukrainian on his Twitter account @pontifex.
I was just about to post this column when I saw the news about the phone call between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. I have been following Patriarch Kirill in recent weeks as he has basically supported Russia in its war on Ukraine, creating no few difficulties within the Orthodox community (see below for story).
POPE, WITH STUDENTS IN ST. PETER’S BASILICA, PRAYS FOR UKRAINE’S CHILDREN
Today’s general audience took place in two different moments, the first in St. Peter’s Basilica when Pope Francis addressed students from La Zolla Vocational school in Milan, and then in the over-flowing Paul VI Hall where the Pope addressed about 7,500 faithful.
In addressing the students in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis prayed for the thousands of Ukrainian children who, he said, “are living under the bombs, have nothing to eat, are forced to flee their homes, leaving everything behind. …Lord Jesus, look at these children, bless them and protect them. They are the victims of the arrogance of the adults.”
He then asked the students of the La Zolla Institute to turn their thoughts “to the many boys, girls, who are facing war and who are suffering. … You have a future ahead, the security of growing up in a peaceful society, and instead these little ones, these very little ones, have to flee from the bombs, with all that cold out there.”
THE VALUE OF OLD AGE, AS ELDERLY PASS ON LIFE’S TRUE AND SUSTAINING VALUES
Having arrived in the Paul VI Hall from St. Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father began his weekly meeting with the faithful by noting, “in our continuing catechesis on the meaning and value of old age, viewed in the light of God’s word, we now consider the vital role of the elderly in handing on to new generations life’s true and sustaining values.”
“In the very first pages of the Bible,” Francis explained, “God entrusts to the elderly Noah the task of restoring the goodness of his creation, which had become corrupted by the spread of violence and wickedness. Jesus himself speaks of the ‘days of Noah’ in warning us of the need for conversion in view of the imminent coming of God’s Kingdom, which brings mankind definitive salvation and spiritual renewal.”
The Pope underscored that, “In every age, as in the days of Noah, we can be tempted to accept sin and corruption as normal, to avert our eyes from the unjust suffering of the poor and the destruction of our natural environment. In our own day, these are the fruits of a materialistic, self-centred and spiritually empty culture of waste. The elderly, like Noah, can warn us of this danger and remind us of our God-given call to be guardians and stewards of his creation.
“May Noah’s example and prayers inspire our elderly to appreciate this, their special charism, and help to build a new ‘ark’ of welcome, care and hope, for the future of our world and the dawn of the new creation.”
The Holy Father then closed the general audience with a special prayer composed by Archbishop Domenico Battaglia of Naples, making a few additions of his own:
Before reciting the prayer, he invited Christians to “ask God for forgiveness and to grant peace” amid the pain of the war in Ukraine. (Vatican photo)
Here is an unofficial translation of the Pope’s prayer:
Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners!
Lord Jesus, born in the shadows of bombs falling on Kyiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who died in a mother’s arms in a bunker in Kharkiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, a 20-year-old sent to the frontlines, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who still beholds armed hands in the shadow of your Cross, have mercy on us!
Forgive us, O Lord.
Forgive us, if we are not satisfied with the nails with which we crucified Your hands, as we continue to slate our thirst with the blood of those mauled by weapons.
Forgive us, if these hands which You created to tend have been transformed into instruments of death.
Forgive us, O Lord, if we continue to kill our brother;
Forgive us, if we continue like Cain to pick up the stones of our fields to kill Abel.
Forgive us, if we continue to justify our cruelty with our labors, if we legitimize the brutality of our actions with our pain.
Forgive us for war, O Lord. Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we implore You! Hold fast the hand of Cain!
Illumine our consciences;
May our will not be done;
Abandon us not to our own actions!
Stop us, O Lord, stop us!
And when you have held back the hand of Cain, care also for him. He is our brother.
O Lord, put a halt to the violence!
Stop us, O Lord!
POPE FRANCIS AND ORTHODOX PATRIARCH KIRILL SPEAK ON PHONE
Acistampa, an EWTN/CNA news agency, reported on the call. This is my translation of the Italian:
Today Pope Francis and the Patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia Kirill had a conversation via video conference. The news was released by the Moscow Patriarchate through an official note. Joining the Pope and Kirill, were Metropolitan Hilarion** and Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
According to the note from the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill “greeted the Pope cordially, expressing satisfaction about the possibility of organizing a conversation. A detailed discussion of the Ukrainian situation took place. Particular attention was paid to the humanitarian aspects of the current crisis and to the actions of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church to overcome its consequences. The parties underlined the exceptional importance of the ongoing negotiation process, expressing their hope for a just peace to be reached as soon as possible. Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill also discussed some current issues of bilateral cooperation.”
The Pope and Kirill met in Cuba in February 2016, the first ever meeting between a Pope and Patriarch of Moscow.
(JFL: **Chairman of the Department of External Affairs)