Want to Help Ukraine? Pray | National Review

Want to Help Ukraine? Pray | National Review

(Archdiocese of New York)

Last Saturday morning, I went to an 8 a.m. Mass at St. George’s Ukrainian Church in lower Manhattan. The entire Mass was a different rite from what I’m used to — and in Ukrainian, but that, honestly, only made it the more beautiful, and transcendent. I’ve been to Maronite Masses in the U.S. before and love how awestruck the words of the liturgy are. I knew something similar was going on, even as I did not seek a translation — the frequent dialogue between the congregants and priest made it clear; it was the somewhat familiar (because of the persecuted) Eastern way. We Westerners miss a lot if we do not get to know our Eastern Christian brothers and sisters.

It was a healthy crowd, and there were flowers, flags, and a plea to pray for Ukraine.

Cardinal Dolan went to pray there the next morning, attending Mass as an act of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

He said:

“The people of Ukraine have been through the crucifixion and are going through it again.”

Calling Ukrainians “people of faith,” Cardinal Dolan said, “You always inspire us because you believe in the power of the resurrection.”

In the homily prepared for Ash Wednesday (the Vatican Secretary of State read it at Mass, as Pope Francis was nursing acute knee pain), Pope Francis said:

If prayer is real, it necessarily bears fruit in charity. And charity sets us free from the worst form of enslavement, which is slavery to self. Lenten charity, purified by these ashes, brings us back to what is essential, to the deep joy to be found in giving. Almsgiving, practised far from the spotlights, fills the heart with peace and hope.  It reveals to us the beauty of giving, which then becomes receiving, and thus enables us to discover a precious secret: our hearts rejoice more at giving than at receiving (cf. Acts 20:35). . . .

Prayer, charity and fasting are not medicines meant only for ourselves but for everyone: they can change history. First, because those who experience their effects almost unconsciously pass them on to others; but above all, because prayer, charity and fasting are the principal ways for God to intervene in our lives and in the world. They are weapons of the spirit and, with them, on this day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine, we implore from God that peace which men and women are incapable of building by themselves.

Whatever you think of Pope Francis, it is worth reading.

As many of us in the West are currently addicted to the news, watching with horror what is happening in Ukraine, realize that we can actually do something. Yes, make financial contributions to efforts by groups like the Knights of Columbus, who are on the ground in Ukraine and with refugees in Poland (100 percent of the money in their Ukrainian fund goes to helping people). But also with prayer. We can never pray enough, unless we are doing it unceasingly. I don’t know about you, but I’m a work in progress. Are you offering prayer and sacrifice for the Ukrainian people? (Do you regularly pray for the persecuted?) Is your place of worship praying for the Ukrainian people? If you’re a person of faith and believe in the power of prayer, commit yourself. Challenge yourself. Miracles can happen.

Watch the head of the Knights in Poland talk about their efforts here:


Back at St. George’s in Manhattan, I was struck by how much longer Eastern Masses are. This was a non-Sunday Mass, with Rosary (as best I could tell), and it was over an hour. A typical daily Mass in the Roman rite tends to 20 minutes . . . tops. While there are practical realities like getting to work (though St. George’s has a 7 a.m., too), I suspect the Eastern approach is better for our souls. And I suspect it has helped sustain a long-suffering people.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.