WASHINGTON – Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by renewing the Church’s call to prayer, solidarity and hope amidst the mounting tolls of this war. Bishop Malloy’s full statement follows:
“It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This past year has seen the horrific consequences of Russian armed aggression on the sovereignty of Ukraine, its infrastructure, its economy, and most of all, on its people. The war in Ukraine has taken a brutal toll on innocent civilians, prompting millions to flee and seek asylum and shelter in other countries. Grieving family members on both sides have been left behind in the wake of the violence. We continue to witness accelerations of military escalation including the threat of deploying nuclear weapons. Russia’s announcement February 21 to suspend its participation in the New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear weapons agreement between the U.S. and Russia, further demonstrates the demise of the commitment to advancing responsible nuclear arms control measures. Such grim developments dim prospects for resolution of this conflict. Compounded by energy and food production disruptions, environmental degradation, and high inflation, no corner of the globe is untouched by the consequences of this expanding war, with the poorest bearing its heaviest tolls.
“We renew our call for an end to all hostilities and appeal to the global community to create frameworks for justice and a lasting peace to be realized, echoing the Holy Father’s appeal for ‘all the protagonists of international life and the political leaders of nations to do everything possible to bring an end to the war, without allowing themselves to be drawn into dangerous escalations, and to promote and support initiatives for dialogue.’
“The U.S. Catholic faithful and American people at-large have not wavered in their generosity this past year, giving sacrificially, and providing critical aid to those whose lives and homes have been uprooted in the scourge of war. We call on the faithful to continue to pray for peace and to continue to give generously to Catholic and other humanitarian organizations that are providing continued and much needed assistance.
“As we usher in the season of Lent, may all the faithful and people of good will join with the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, in setting aside February 24 as a solemn day of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, beseeching the Lord to bring an end to the fighting and a return to justice and peace in Ukraine.”