“The people of Ireland are well aware that we can never take peace for granted. We must always continue work for peace, to pray for peace and to make sacrifices for peace,” he said, adding that the current invasion served as a tragic, sobering reminder of how fragile peace in the world is.
“To think that only days ago the people of that country were getting on with their lives, making plans for their families, their businesses, their education, and now suddenly their lives, homes and futures are under threat. One of the awful things about war is the way that it suddenly destroys everything in its path. It disrupts normal life and overnight introduces death, destruction, violence, fear, sorrow and grief. Watching our screens from Ireland we feel powerless to help.
“Our hearts and our prayers go out to the people of Ukraine who didn’t ask for this war, and who simply wanted to be left to get on with their lives, their jobs and with bringing up their families. Now they must hide, shelter, and even run for safety to protect themselves and their children.
“We can never take peace for granted. We must always work for peace, pray for peace and make sacrifices for peace. All of us have the capacity to build peace by our words, our actions and our attitudes to others. We choose to sow peace or conflict, love or hate, to build up, or to tear down, to heal or to hurt, to forgive or to resent, to soothe or to inflame. The current situation in Ukraine appears to be motivated, at least in part, by abuse of power and by the desire to control and dominate. It is alarming to think that despite the lessons learned last century in Europe about the horrors of war, that our continent could so easily be plunged back into chaos and uncertainty.”
Pope Francis has asked that Catholics pray and fast for peace on Ash Wednesday.
Archbishop Martin said: “I encourage you to keep the Ash Wednesday fast, to take just one main meal on Wednesday and two small snacks; to abstain from meat and to consider also abstaining from alcohol. Make some extra sacrifice this Lent and offer it up for peace in Ukraine. Loving God, we pray for the people of Ukraine, for all those suffering or afraid, that you will be close to them and protect them. We pray for world leaders, for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices. We pray for the world that in this moment of crisis, we may reach out in solidarity to our brothers and sisters in need. May we walk in your ways so that peace and justice become a reality for the people of Ukraine and for all the world. Amen.”