SCRANTON – As the situation facing our suffering brothers and sisters in Ukraine becomes more dire by the hour, parishioners across the Diocese of Scranton lifted their voices and hearts to God to pray for peace this week.
At the request of the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, churches in all 11 counties of the Diocese of Scranton held special Holy Hours for Peace and other prayer opportunities.
The bishop led a Holy Hour for Peace on Tuesday, March 15, at 5 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.
“No war ever makes sense, no war and this war in which we find ourselves – not a military action but a war – makes no sense. It is borne out of greed, envy and a lack of understanding and appreciation and respect for the lives that God has given to our world,” Bishop Bambera said during his homily.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an estimated 3 million refugees have fled the country. Billions of dollars in damage has been done to infrastructure, which includes maternity hospitals, schools, churches and apartment buildings.
Many in Ukraine say the psychological, social and economic devastation will take decades to heal.
“These past three weeks have destroyed families, they have torn apart towns and villages and have made no distinction between a disregard for an infant child in the womb and elderly, aged people, who can barely walk who are just trying to find some way to safety,” the bishop noted.
Dozens of people attended the Cathedral Holy Hour for Peace. Many more watched as the service was broadcast live on CTV: Catholic Television of the Diocese of Scranton.
For those attending in person, the Holy Hour was especially meaningful.
“When I watch what is happening in Ukraine, it is heartbreaking and I thought the very least I could do is to come out and share my prayers,” Kathy Bolinski of Clarks Summit said. “I think anytime we all get together for a singular purpose – which is prayer – it is extremely powerful and God will certainly be there listening to us and hopefully we can see the impact of it.”
“Coming together at the Cathedral is a great sense of unity that we all share,” Sister Mary Alice Jacquinot, I.H.M., added.
Chester Klobukowski of Duryea and his wife brought more than 200 rosaries to the Holy Hour. They gave them to the bishop in hopes of getting them to the people of Ukraine.
“My wife and I have been making rosaries for about 40 years and we send them all over to prisons and we wanted to send some to Ukraine,” Klobukowski explained. “We hope for an end to the war. This is unreal.”
Bishop Bambera acknowledged receiving the rosaries during his homily – emphasizing it is one of many signs of “good” and “hope” that has come from all the heartbreak and devastation.
“For as sophisticated a people as we are, for as bright and as brilliant as we have become, for as ingenious as we are, for as capable as we have become, our world is still filled with evil, hatred and sin,” the bishop noted. “When we turn away from God, we find ourselves in the midst of where we are today.”
The bishop also encouraged people to continue sharing three things: prayer, information about what is happening in Ukraine, and financial and material assistance.
“Somehow, in God’s wisdom, in God’s time and in God’s way, peace will come and peace will most especially touch the lives of those suffering souls in Ukraine for whom we pray,” Bishop Bambera ended his homily by saying.
Video from the Holy Hour for Peace is available on the Diocese of Scranton YouTube channel and website for anyone that would like to watch the service.