Justice & Peace

Ash Wednesday : Global Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Ukraine

Thousands gathered in Churches and Schools on Ash Wednesday to receive blessed ashes whilst holding Ukraine in prayer

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Across the Diocese of Nottingham, thousands gathered in Churches and Schools on Ash Wednesday to receive blessed ashes whilst holding Ukraine in prayer, following the call from Pope Francis to offer Wednesday 2nd March 2022 as a 'Global Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Ukraine'.

Hundreds gathered at St Barnabas Cathedral for the 1:00PM Ash Wednesday Mass, in which Bishop Patrick McKinney reminded the congregation of the global call to pray and fast for peace in Ukraine.

The students and staff of Sacred Heart Catholic Voluntary Academy, a primary school in Loughborough, received ashes in school, distributed by their peers in the school Chaplaincy Team who led the whole school in an Ash Wednesday Act of Worship.

Mrs Boyd, who was part of the service, said: "The Chaplains led the Ash Wednesday Service with such reverence and respect. They were excellent role models for the whole school to duplicate and they revelled in their mission to distribute the ashes to both children and staff. The whole school congregation from Reception to Year 6 engaged in the prayer, reflection, receiving ashes and hymn singing. It was a wonderful whole school act of worship."

Another Primary School in our diocese, St Mary's Catholic Academy in Hyson Green, Nottingham, featured on BBC East Midlands News, having spent time on making a 'Wall of Peace' on the perimeter fence of their premises. The display featured personal prayers for those affected by way especially those in Ukraine. Hanya Postolan, a teacher at St Mary's, shared to the BBC that she had family in Ukraine, "My Father lives in Ukraine,  I'm 3rd generation Ukranian so my Mum's family and extended family live there as well,  and we've got some family in the Ukrainian Army. The school felt as a whole it [the wall of peace] was something we could do, a small gesture, a small token"

Joanna, a student at St Mary's told the reporter, "It means a lot to me because my family is Polish, and they are welcoming refugees with warm hands and with things for them. I'm sad that I can't help."

Hanya continued, "We've tried to explain things on a basic level for them [the students], we just want them to feel safe and secure, but we've got to teach the reality that there are injustices in the world and that's important for them to learn about and to know about. We're hoping to display them not just in the school grounds but out in the community as well so perhaps some in the tram stop or near our local church, for people - not only our parents, as we have lot from eastern Europe - but for the community in Nottingham, for them to know that everyone is supporting Ukraine."

One other student added, "I don't want the two countries to be against each other, I want them to live in harmony like two countries would do."

Families affected by the conflict in Ukraine urgently need food, water, and shelter. CAFOD is working closely with Caritas Ukraine, Caritas Poland and others, who are already there delivering practical help to those most in need. You can be part of the Church’s response by giving to CAFOD’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal at cafod.org.uk/Ukraine.

Please also continue to pray for peace in Ukraine.  

Listen to Bishop Patrick's Homily from Ash Wednesday on SoundCloud.

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