Wednesday 2 March marks the start of Lent, the 40-day journey that will lead us to the Christian Easter, this year scheduled for Sunday 17 April. On this day, Catholics are called to praying and fasting.
Last Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the Russian military attack on Ukraine, Pope Francis appealed to all, believers and non-believers, to devote themselves “intensely” to praying and fasting on this day.
This is his appeal: “And now I would like to appeal to everyone, believers and non-believers. Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God’s weapons, with prayer and fasting. I invite everyone to make next 2 March, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace. I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.
But Bergoglio also appeals “to those who have political responsibilities, to make a serious examination of conscience before God, who is the God of peace and not of war; who is the Father of all, not just of some, who wants us to be brothers and not enemies.”
An invitation accepted by many throughout Italy, from Milan to Cascia, L’Aquila and Catania.