EUROPE/UKRAINE – Italian civil society peace march arrives in Lviv
Lviv (Agenzia Fides) – “The ongoing conflict evokes the ghost of a past that was considered definitively archived. Instead, the bombs, the destruction, the Ukrainian and Russian deaths, the devastation of the last few weeks have put us in front of a danger, a This is a cruel and senseless war, which, like any war, represents a defeat for each, for each one of us, said Pope Francis during the Angelus on Sunday March 27, reiterating the invitation to repudiate war, a place of death where fathers and mothers bury their children, where men kill their brothers without even having seen them, where the powerful decide and the poor die”. Thus begins the letter that Mgr. Stefano Russo, secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference, sent Pope John XXIII to the president of Pro Civitate Christiana on the eve of the march for peace in Ukraine, designed by the Community, Don Tonio Dell’Olio. “I therefore express my appreciation for the European initiative which, between April 1 and 3, will reach the city of Lviv by caravan, organizing meetings with the representatives of the civil and religious institutions present in this city”, writes Mgr. Russian.
“An important sign – comments Don Dell’Olio – because he recognizes the importance, the purity and the meaning of this action for peace. And it is in a way the Italian Bishops’ Conference’s way of taking sides for the Pope who was very clear about the history of the Ukrainian war”. The initiative promoted by the Pope John XXIII Community, but which has involved dozens of Catholic and lay groups from Italian civil society, began yesterday morning at dawn in Gorizia. Its main organizer, the secretary of the association named after Pope Roncalli, Pierluigi Cofano, explains that a march will take place this afternoon, April 2, around Lviv station “where our vehicles, 66, which brought medicines and basic necessities, gather some families of displaced people to bring them to Italy where various municipal administrations, including Rome, have already given the green light to welcome them”. The caravan, which arrived yesterday evening at the Polish-Ukrainian border, is made up of 221 people from various associations. Today also includes a meeting with the mayor and with the local religious authorities of Lviv, provided the situation allows.
“The Permanent Episcopal Council – writes Bishop Russo in the letter addressed to Dell’Olio and the marchers – has decided to promote a moment of prayer for peace during the Palm Sunday celebrations and to express its closeness and solidarity with the Ukrainian Church, through the many initiatives that Caritas Italiana coordinates”.
The letter recalls that “peace is born above all in the heart of each one, from the desire to accompany each other on the path of life, to establish relationships based on fraternity”. In this sense, the Churches, in the four corners of the world, can play an irreplaceable role in the construction of a true peace, which places human dignity, respect for the rights and freedoms of each person and of life at the center of the attention, the construction of united and open communities”. (EG-AP) (Agenzia Fides, 4/2/2022)