Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference, has called for an immediate cessation of the Russian attacks in Ukraine and for the protection of innocent civilians.

“I appeal for all to pray for the people of Ukraine, who are suffering the brunt of this conflict. I pray for their strength and perseverance under this onslaught.

“The international community must unite in seeking an end to this conflict through peaceful means, including dialogue and negotiation, as the only way forward.

“It is their responsibility to ensure that international law and territorial sovereignty are respected. We must also keep in mind the plight of those who will become refugees as a result of this attack and the humanitarian crisis that will inevitably follow.

“In this precarious moment for the people of Ukraine and further across Europe, I pray for the victims of this conflict and their families.

“I will be celebrating Mass in Westminster Cathedral at 10am on Sunday, 27 February, for these intentions.”

In his Pastoral Letter read out in churches across the Archdiocese of Birmingham over the weekend of 26/27 February, Archbishop Bernard Longley says:

"...perhaps above all this Sunday we are conscious of the worsening situation in Ukraine and the threat of war.

"On Wednesday, at his weekly audience, Pope Francis said: Like me, many people throughout the world are feeling anguish and concern. Once again the peace of all is threatened by partisan interests … I would like all those who have the political responsibility to make a serious examination of conscience before God, who is the God of peace and not of war … He wants us to be brothers and not enemies.

"The Holy Father has asked us to fast for peace on Ash Wednesday and to pray that the Queen of Peace will preserve the world from the madness of war.

"I have asked all our priests to offer a Votive Mass for the Preservation of Peace and Justice during this week.

"I know that you will join me in praying for the people of Ukraine, remembering especially the clergy and parishioners of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church together with my brother bishop, the Ukrainian Eparch Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski."

Pastoral Letter

Ukraine Archive of statements on the Bishops' Conference website

Pope announces day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine

United in prayer for the People of Ukraine

Psalm 31:21-24 (NRSV)
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as a city under siege.
I had said in my alarm,
“I am driven far from your sight.”
But you heard my supplications
when I cried out to you for help.
Love the Lord, all you his saints.
The Lord preserves the faithful,
but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord.

Photograph: Sunday Angelus with Pope Francis at St Peter's Square
© Mazur/