Vatican City, July 11, 2022 / 8:35 a.m. (CNA).
Pope Francis said he prays for Ukraine and works behind the scenes to help Ukrainians who are suffering.
“I unite myself spiritually to your suffering, assuring you of my prayers and my involvement, which, given the current situation, do not appear in the media,” the pope said in a July 11 letter to the bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
“I pray that your Church and your People, animated by the power of the sacraments and turned to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, will not lose Christian hope in a better future.”
The pope’s letter was addressed to the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, and to the bishops of the Church, as they meet in synod July 7-15.
The Eastern Catholic Church sui iuris of the Byzantine Rite currently has about 51 bishops in its synod. They minister around the world, including the United States and Ukraine.
This month’s meeting is taking place in Przemyśl, a town in southeastern Poland, just 15 km from the western border of Ukraine and 100 km from Lviv.
The synod was to be held in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, before the Russian invasion and the outbreak of war nearly five months ago.
Pope Francis said that “the Synod of Bishops devoted to the theme “Synodality and Universality: Experience of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church” must have as its objective the good of the Church and of each believer.”
“In addition”, he advised, “it must be a place of meeting and mutual aid on the path of common life, in the search for new ways of accompanying the faithful”.
He recalled the example of the 20th century martyrs of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001 during his trip to Lviv.
“But at this very moment we have a better understanding of the circumstances in which these martyrs lived and died, among whom were bishops, priests, monks and nuns and lay people who were victims of the Soviet communist regime,” did he declare. “Today, from heaven, they defend their own suffering people.”
“To their care I entrust all the members of the synod,” he said.
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