The CBCP unites itself spiritually with Pope Francis, as he grieves over the quick deterioration of the situation in Ukraine. It is ironic that the Russian attack on the freedom of the Ukrainian people began on the 25th of February 2022, on the day when we celebrated the 36th anniversary of the peaceful restoration of freedom and democracy in the Philippines through people power, after more than a decade of dictatorship.

At that time, the Philippines became an inspiration to many other countries that were also aspiring for freedom but were afraid of violence. The citizens of these countries, which were controlled by dictatorships, gradually found the courage to reclaim their freedom; among them was Ukraine. They saw in “people power” the key to a peaceful process of change in society.

Now the people of Ukraine, especially our fellow Christians there, are asking for our prayers. Pope Francis is sensitive to their fears and anxieties for their families and communities, knowing the kind of violence and destruction that war can cause. Nobody is happy about war except those in the arms industries who make huge profits and stand to benefit from the disputes among nations.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us therefore join the Holy Father and our brothers and sisters in Ukraine through prayer and fasting on March 2, 2022, Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. The Lord Himself taught us that there is no other way to combat the enticements of the devil especially among those who are obsessed with power, wealth and fame, other than prayer, fasting and acts of charity. (Mt. 4:1-11)

We also invoke the intercession of the Blessed Mother as we pray that the Lord move the consciences of the Russian people so that they themselves will be able to do the necessary steps in order to pressure their government to stop the war it has started.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

Bishop of Kalookan
CBCP President
27 February 2022