Philadelphia Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop Stefan Soroka has asked all priests in churches of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia to lead the faithful in prayer at all services this weekend for a peaceful end to the tragic events and violence in Ukraine.

(Read more about the situation here.)

Special prayer petitions will be included in all Divine Liturgies in Ukrainian Catholic Churches located in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C.and Virginia.

Many of the parishes are served by priests who were born and educated in Ukraine.  There is a significant population of Ukrainian immigrants as well as Americans with Ukrainian ancestry living in the United States, many in the Mid-Atlantic region, and many who have relatives living in Ukraine.

A statement issued by the Ukrainian Catholic bishops of the United States, which will be shared with the faithful in churches this weekend, asked everyone to “stand steadfast” with the people of Ukraine, “equally committed to a world offering to all the basic human rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and conscience, and the right of self-determination. Pray and resolve to have courage as we raise our voices in opposition to the repressive efforts to deny these basic rights throughout the world and especially in our beloved homeland Ukraine at this time.

“As we pray to Almighty God, let us ask that the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit inspire and enlighten all, especially the present-day oppressors, to heed the Old Testament command of God inscribed on the Liberty Bell, ‛Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.’ And we pray, through the Grace of God, that these words will soon resound throughout Ukraine.”

The following are the special liturgical prayers to be prayed by Ukrainian Catholic clergy and lay people:

“We also pray to the Almighty Lord for the people of Ukraine who are struggling these days to defend their God given rights and freedom of speech, choice and religion. Grant them all and especially leaders of the Ukrainian nation wisdom, good judgment and discernment to find mutual understanding and respect that would lead to a peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict, we pray to You, O Lord, and have mercy. ”

“O merciful Lord and Lover of Mankind, look down mercifully upon those who laid down in sacrifice their lives for the improved future of Ukraine in the ongoing conflict and for hundreds of people that are wounded and hurt. Bestow your healing power upon all who need it that their sufferings be lessen and receive full recovery, we pray to You, O Lord, and have mercy.”