Pope Francis appeals for help for Ukraine

Pope Francis has called on parishes across Europe on Sunday to give donations to the victims of the conflict in Ukraine.

The pontiff on Sunday announced that there will be special collections on April 24 in all European Catholic churches to “alleviate the material needs” of all who are suffering “the consequences of the violence” in Ukraine.

“I urge the faithful to support this papal initiative with generous contributions,” said Pope Francis.

He said his thoughts were with “those who remain in areas hit by hostilities that have already caused several thousand deaths and those — over a million — who have been forced to leave.”

The pope made the call on April 3 after celebrating the Mass on Divine Mercy at St. Peter’s Square.

Pope Francis said “thousands” have already been killed in Ukraine and “more than a million” have had to leave their homes.

As of mid-2015, there were some 1.4 million internally displaced persons in Ukraine.

The pontiff has also asked Catholic dioceses around the world to set up a permanent memorial of the Year of Mercy by establishing a hospital, home for the aged or school in an under-served area.

“As a reminder, a ‘monument’ let’s say, to this Year of Mercy, how beautiful it would be if in every diocese there were a structural work of mercy: a hospital, a home for the aged or abandoned children, a school where there isn’t one, a home for recovering drug addicts — so many things could be done,” the pope said.

Reciting the “Regina Coeli” prayer at the end of Mass the next day, Pope Francis said the Divine Mercy Sunday celebration was “like the heart of the Year of Mercy.”

God’s mercy should drive people to love others, “recognizing the face of Jesus Christ above all in those who are most distant, weak, alone, confused and marginalized,” he said.

“It pains the heart” when people talk about refugees and say, “Let’s throw them out,” or speak about the poor and say, “Let them sleep on the street,” the pope said. “Is this of Jesus?”


Catholic News Service
America Magazine
Vatican Radio
Image: AP/Vatican Radio

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