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Rome Newsroom, Sep 13, 2022 / 04:32 am (CNA).

Catholic bishops have called for “Eucharistic Adoration in every church in Europe” to pray for peace in Ukraine on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross this week.

The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) has launched the initiative, urging Catholics across Europe to gather on Sept. 14 “on their knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament to pray that the Lord will grant peace to Ukraine.”

The prayer initiative was inspired by Roman Catholic bishops in Ukraine, who declared 2022 to be the Year of the Holy Cross for Ukrainian Catholics.

“Since Russia attacked Ukraine, we are walking a painful road of the cross, on which innocent people suffer, are wounded and killed, there is a lot of evil, a lot of suffering,” the Ukrainian bishops wrote in a letter to mark the beginning of the Year of the Holy Cross. 

“At this time, we feel more acutely than ever what violence against the innocent is, what the crucifixion of the innocent is. Now more than ever we understand Jesus Christ on His Way of the Cross, we understand His suffering and death as an innocent Lamb who was crucified by people who gave themselves to the service of evil.”

The Year of the Holy Cross in Ukraine will conclude on the Sept. 14 feast day with a liturgy and the Stations of the Cross at the Shrine of the Lord’s Passion in Sharhorod, Ukraine.

Dioceses in Italy, Ireland, Poland, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Norway, and many other European countries have confirmed their participation in the adoration initiative.

In Malta, Archbishop Charles Scicluna will offer Mass followed by Eucharistic Adoration in the Church of Ta ‘Gieżu in Valletta which will be broadcast on national television at 9:30 a.m. local time. 

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool will offer a Mass for Peace after an hour of Eucharistic Adoration starting at 4 p.m. with the local Ukrainian community in the Cathedral of Christ the King.

The Cathedral of Limburg, Germany, will also offer veneration of the relic of the Limburg cross together with prayers for peace in Ukraine at 6 p.m.

The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences has published suggested prayers and readings in English to help guide a holy hour for peace in Ukraine on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, including the following prayer written by Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski, who serves the Ukrainian, Belarusian and Slovak Eastern Catholics in Great Britain.

Almighty and Great God,

accept our gratitude for your boundless mercy towards us.

Hear the supplication of our afflicted hearts for the land and people of Ukraine,

as they confront foreign aggression and invasion.

Open the eyes of those who have been overtaken

 by a spirit of deception and violence,

that they be horrified by their works.

Grant victory over the powers of evil that have arisen

and bless Ukraine with your gifts of liberty, peace, tranquility, and good fortune.

We implore you, O Merciful God,

look with grace upon those who courageously defend their land.

Remember the mothers and fathers, the innocent children,

widows and orphans, the disabled and helpless,

those seeking shelter and refuge,

who reach out to you and to their fellow human beings

looking for mercy and compassion.

Bless the hearts of those who have already shown great generosity and solidarity,

and those who prepare to receive their Ukrainian brothers and sisters

in Ukraine’s greatest time of need.

Bring us together as your children, your creation,

and instil in us your strength, wisdom and understanding.

May you be praised and glorified,

now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

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