Pope to Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church: I am close to you
On Sunday afternoon Pope Francis paid a visit to the Basilica of Santa Sofia home to Rome’s Greek-Catholic Community of Ukrainians.
Three examples of the Ukrainian Church
The Pope exchanged greetings with the Major Archbishop of Kiev, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, and in his address the Ponfiff recalled the great models of Cardinal Josyp Slipyi, Salesian Ukrainian Bishop Stepan Czmil, and Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, former Major Archbishop of the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine.
The Pope also paid a visit to the crypt to pray at the tomb of Salesian Ukrainian Bishop Czmil. He described the Bishop as "a person who has done me so much good", explaining that when he was a boy, in Argentina, he was taught by him, "to serve at Mass, to read your alphabet, from him I learned the beauty of your liturgy, from its stories the living testimony of how much faith has been tried and forged in the midst of the terrible atheistic persecutions of the last century ".
During his address Pope Francis noted the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the suffering of the people there saying, “I am here today to tell you all that I am close to you: close with my heart, with my prayers, and when I celebrate Mass.”
He then prayed that the weapons of war would be silenced.
The Pope also noted the numerous Ukrainian women of great faith, courage and charity, telling them, “you are precious and you bring to many Italian families the proclamation of God.”