The hearts of the Caribbean people “are broken and wounded” as we learn of the invasion of the vulnerable sovereign state of the Ukrainian People’s Republic by the Russian Federation, the subsequent loss of innocent lives, and the severe suffering of its people.
This according to the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) President and Archbishop Elect of the Archdiocese of Castries, St Lucia, Gabriel Malzaire in a statement.
In addition, the statement said, the invasion has created a refugee crisis and caused the painful break-up of families, a nation, and communities.
It noted that throughout the Caribbean region, public commentators, religious leaders, governments, and civil society have been expressing solidarity with the Ukrainians, condemning the violent and unlawful actions of the Russians, and calling for an end to such brutality.
“We are also concerned about the dire and uncertain fate of Caribbean students living in Ukraine, the economic impact of rising oil prices on our Caribbean nations, and the failure of regular diplomatic efforts to resolve international issues. Like the Coronavirus pandemic, this crisis has international implications as it causes rising inflation and increasing oil prices. This now places greater financial and psychological burdens on our people,” the statement said.
Malzaire, as president of the AEC, said he supports the call of Pope Francis who declared Wednesday, March 2, 2022, Ash Wednesday, as a Day of Fasting for Peace.
To this end he called on all the People of God, the laity, the clergy and religious in all the dioceses of the AEC to gather virtually and/or physically in parishes, homes, religious communities, chapels on Ash Wednesday to pray for global and regional peace, and specifically for peace in Ukraine.
“May the Son of Justice and Peace rise in our hearts and actions and provide the light of hope. May Mary, the Queen of Peace, intercede on our behalf,” the statement ended.