SAN ANTONIO – “Right now, I cannot be in Ukraine. I wish to be able to do something more concrete there, but prayer unites us. Prayer helps us to be one mind and one heart,” said Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
On Sunday, Archbishop Gustavo presided over a special morning mass at the San Fernando Cathedral.
Typically, between the end of Christmas and the beginning of Lent, an archbishop’s vestment would be green. This morning, purple was worn ahead of Lent to convey through symbols a powerful message.
“The symbol of penance, of fasting, prayer, abstinence and at the same time and as you can hear in the background that is the bells are in a tone of a funeral,“ Archbishop Garcia-Siller said.
There was a somber ringing of the cathedral’s bells, symbolizing the lives already lost in what the archbishop calls a useless and selfish situation.
At the center of the oldest, continuously operating cathedral in Texas, a white candle dressed in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
“With an image of our lady, they have a devotion to our Lady of Pecoff, which to intercede for them and we will continue to be as close as we can to their situation,” Garcia-Siller said.
Pope Francis delivered the Angelus noon prayer in St. Peters square at the Vatican and made a special invitation to everyone on Twitter.
I renew my invitation for everyone to take part on 2 March, Ash Wednesday, in a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in #Ukraine, in order to be near to the suffering Ukrainian people, to be aware that we are all brothers and sisters, and to implore God for an end to the war. pic.twitter.com/ecNo53Ofya— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) February 27, 2022
“The pope’s message is that this coming Wednesday that we title Ash Wednesday be a day of fasting, prayer and sacrifice for the people of Ukraine,” Archbishop Garcia-Siller said.
Through collective prayer, congregants at the San Fernando Cathedral humbly made their special petitions for the men, women and children in Ukraine.
“So, I believe that our prayer and the prayer of the whole world, especially on Wednesday, will make a difference,” Garcia-Siller said.