WHY I PRAYED IN KYIV WHEN I COULD HAVE PRAYED AT HOME

Interreligious delegation at Caritas IDP center in Irpin, Ukraine, site of war crimes committed by Russian military.

By Rose Marie Berger

I have just returned from an intensive trip to Kyiv, Ukraine, with an international, interreligious delegation for peace. We took our “hearing ear and seeing eye,” as it says in Proverbs 20:12, to offer public prayers for peace and to see the impacts of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unjust war.

What we learned has disturbed us to our very bones.

Since early March, I have been a part of a small group of religious leaders from around the world prayerfully discerning how to stop the bombing of Ukrainians by the Russian government. We have been seeking openings for the Holy Spirit to intervene for peace.

Not long after the bombing started in February, Mayor Vitali Klitschko of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, issued a call asking religious leaders to come to Kyiv: “I make an appeal to the world’s spiritual leaders to take a stand … and to proudly assume the responsibility of their religions for peace,” said Klitschko. “Come to Kyiv to show their solidarity with the Ukrainian people … Let us make Kyiv the capital of humanity, spirituality, and peace.”

That is how the Holy Spirit works. For two months Sojourners has coordinated with colleagues at Poland-based Europe: A Patient Association and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., to put together a religious leaders’ delegation for peace in Ukraine that was prepared to travel to Kyiv and answer the mayor’s call.

I went to Ukraine to hear Jesus speak in the language of the Ukrainian people, to see their suffering and their creative determination, to touch their wounds and understand how the word of life is surviving there. As a Catholic I believe in the “real presence” of Christ — so being really present in the flesh is part of my call and mission. The “real Presence” is the miracle that changes the “absolutely impossible” to a glimmer of the possible. … Read the rest of this article by Rose Marie Berger at sojo.net.

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