On the 2nd March, the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Australia held a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine, which was called for on 23rd February by His Holiness Pope Francis. During this day, many parishes together with the clergy and the faithful scattered throughout Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, have been all united in this special prayer.

The Day of Prayer began at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral at 1 pm. During the homily, Bishop Mykola said: “Today I thank God that I have the opportunity to be in St. Patrick’s Cathedral among you and pray with you for peace in Ukraine, as she faces the terrible evil of war, violence and hostility from the enemy, who is deaf to all pleas for peace, fights against a peaceful neighbour. Ukraine has done nothing wrong and has only good will to Russia. I cordially ask you during this Lent to pray for peace in Ukraine and its people, who are currently going through terrible trials; that peace, justice, and prosperity may come to her, that war, enmity, and suffering may cease. I also sincerely ask you to pray for the conversion of Russia, as the Blessed Virgin Mary requested in Fatima more than 100 years ago. Let us place all our trust in God, from whom we receive salvation, peace and forgiveness of our sins.”

At 5 pm, a joint prayer was held on the Zoom platform, organized by Caritas Australia. Bishop Mykola joined the common prayer, which was attended by about 130 people from all over Australia, who are the heart and hands of this charity. It is worth noting that Caritas Australia is now very active in helping our people in Ukraine.

Later, at 7 pm in the evening, the prayer continued in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The church hosted a Moleben to the Blessed Virgin Mary, led by Bishop Mykola Bychok, Eparch of Melbourne with Bishop Peter Commensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, Bishop Bosco Puthur, Ordinary of the Syro-Malabar Church in Australia, Bishop Shane Mackinley, Ordinary of the Diocese of Sandhurst, Bishop Gregory Bennet, Ordinary of the Diocese of Sale, Bishop Terry Curtin, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Bishop Martin Ash, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Bishop Emeritus Hilton Deakin, priests, deacons and many faithful.

The homily was delivered by Bishop Terry Curtin, who noted: “I stand before you as a Roman Catholic bishop who in 2015 was given the grace to visit Ukraine and greet the Ukrainian Greek Catholic bishops who were about to gather in synod. Memories remain of churches of vibrant beauty, of liturgies sung with living faith, of warm welcome and hospitality, of intricate needlework and wonderfully decorated eggs; and also, of that other story that had to be told, where Christian faith gave witness as lives were lost and society destroyed under great oppression and persecution. I must admit that in this moment of terrible trial for Ukraine I am hesitant to speak. In Australia we live our lives in relative tranquillity and safety, so what do we know? But our faith calls us forward and we stand together.”

At the conclusion of the prayer for peace in Ukraine, Bishop Mykola Bychok addressed the bishops, clergy, religious, representatives of other religions, politicians and faithful with words of gratitude and a request to continue the prayer that is so necessary to end the war in Ukraine. The Hierarch also reminded everyone present that every Friday of the week is declared as a special day of prayer and fasting in the Melbourne Eparchy.

This post is also available in: Ukrainian