The Pope’s appeal


When a crisis would arise, our General Superior would tell us young teaching Sisters, “Pray, and have the children pray.”  And we would, and things would actually work themselves out somehow.  As the poet Tennyson says, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”  I sincerely hope so, as the invasion of Russia on Ukraine seems like a David and Goliath story.

This war has caused great pain in all our hearts and minds, including Pope Francis who has asked us to pray and fast for peace.  This reminds me of the Biblical story in Mark.  A father brought his possessed child to the disciples for deliverance, but they were unable to do so.  When they asked Jesus, ‘’Why?” Jesus answered, “This kind can only come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mk.9:29)

The scribes attributed the helplessness of the disciples to the presumed superior power of the demon.  Some scholars say the real problem lay not in the power of the demon, but in the spiritual weakness of the disciples.  Let us not be weak or slow to make Ash Wednesday a Day of Fast and Prayer for Peace. In fact, why not all of the days of Lent?

Decrying the “diabolical and perverse logic of weapons” which Francis says is far from the will of God, the Holy Father states, “It is a day to be close to the suffering of the Ukrainian people, to be aware that we are all brothers and sisters, and to implore God for an end to the war.”

Braving the cold wintry weather, that’s what a couple of hundred of us did last Monday in Confederation Basin across from City Hall.  The Kingston Interfaith Community (KIC) organized a peace prayer vigil for Ukrainian people and a peaceful resolution to the conflict.  Bridget Doherty, President of KIC and Director of the newly formed Providence Center for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, said “The event was organized to support the Kingston Ukrainian community, the Kingston Russian families and individuals who do not support the war and the violence inflicted on innocent people, as well as to offer prayers for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

Representing the Christians, Anglican Bishop Michael Olton brought with him a replica of the Coventry Cross of Nails.  The original cross was made from three large medieval nails salvaged from the Coventry Cathedral in England after the building was severely damaged by enemy bombs during the Second World War.  Today it is used as a symbol of peace and reconciliation among peoples.

Let our Lent be a real effort of prayer and fasting for peace in our world – especially for Ukraine, and let us not forget the Russian people as well.