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Knights of Columbus Begin a Novena for Peace in Ukraine

Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly of the Knights of Columbus and Ukraine State Deputy Youriy Maletskiy, a leader of the Knights in Lviv, deliver Easter care packages April 12, 2022, to Ukrainian families at a 14th-century monastery in Rava-Ruska in the Lviv Archdiocese. The families, been displaced by war, were taking refuge in the monastery in western Ukraine. As the war reached the two-year mark, the Knights called for nine days of prayer, starting Feb. 15, to end the bloodshed. (Photo: OSV News/Tamino Petelinsek, courtesy Knights of Columbus)

WASHINGTON — The Knights of Columbus are starting a novena for peace and healing in Ukraine Feb. 15 that will conclude Feb. 23, the day before the two-year anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The nine days of prayer with accompanying videos featuring people impacted by the conflict is on the Knights’ website: Each day’s prayer focuses on different aspects of the war now in its 10th year.

The prayers of the novena have been adapted from the Byzantine Catholic rite’s “Prayer Service Sung in Times of War.”

The videos highlight a widow who lost her husband, an orphan whose parents were killed, a Catholic priest held in captivity, veterans, medical personnel, and internally displaced people.

The novena’s introduction points out that the reflections were written by a young Ukrainian woman whose words show the “necessity for prayerful solidarity” and give context to the Knights’ humanitarian efforts in the region helping more than 1.6 million people.

Although the Knights point out that the novena is intended as a prayer just before the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, it was also written so that it could be prayed at any time of the year.

The reflection for the first day of the novena focuses on the war’s widows and says in part: “Visiting a Ukrainian cemetery, one will see far too many fresh graves — many of them husbands and fathers whose world turned upside down two years ago, when they became soldiers overnight.” The second and third day focuses on children orphaned by the war and parents whose children have died in the war.

The United Nations’ human rights office said Feb. 13 that there have been more than 7,000 civilian deaths, and 11,756 Ukrainians have been wounded primarily from shelling and missile and air strikes since Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine.

And a report to the U.N. in January said the scale of humanitarian needs in Ukraine remains vast, noting that “more than 14.6 million people — about 40 % of Ukraine’s population — require some form of humanitarian assistance. Four million people — including nearly 1 million children — are still displaced within the country. Over 6.3 million people continue to live as refugees in neighboring European countries and globally.”

To date, the Knights in Poland and Ukraine have distributed more than 7.7 million pounds of food and supplies and have delivered 250,000 care packages, 4,000 coats for Ukrainian children, 60,000 rosaries along with hundreds of wheelchairs, generators, and other essentials.

Through donor support to the Ukraine Solidarity Fund, the Knights have provided Ukraine with close to $22.4 million in aid.

Those who wish to donate to this fund can do so here: