Pope Francis, in his message for the World Day of Peace, January 2023, reflects that conflict in Ukraine and elsewhere, following on from the coronavirus pandemic, has increased insecurity for the most vulnerable. The Pope calls on us to build a kingdom of love, justice and peace here on earth, together.
“Our greatest and yet most fragile treasure is our shared humanity as brothers and sisters, children of God. None of us can be saved alone.”
Pope Francis reflects on what we have learned from the coronavirus pandemic – “the time is right to question, learn, grow and allow ourselves to be transformed as individuals and as communities”.
Pope Francis says, “the greatest lesson we learned from Covid-19 was the realisation that we all need one another.” The pandemic led us to a “renewed sense of solidarity that has made us more sensitive to the suffering of others and more responsive to their needs.”
The post-pandemic era, however, is not what we had hoped for – the war in Ukraine, says the Pope, “together with all the other conflicts around the globe, represents a setback for the whole of humanity.”
Pope Francis says the war in Ukraine has spread insecurity for “innocent victims” not only in Ukraine but for people thousands of kilometres away affected by the grain shortages and high fuel prices instigated by the war.
Pope Francis says we must “let our hearts be changed by our experience of the crisis”. He says “we must think in terms of the common good, recognising that we belong to a greater community, and opening our minds and hearts to universal human fraternity.”
“We are called”, says the Pope, “to confront the challenges of our world in a spirit of responsibility and compassion.” He says, “we must promote actions that enhance peace”, “join in caring for our common home” and “battle the virus of inequality.”
“Only by responding generously to these situations, with an altruism inspired by God’s infinite and merciful love, will we be able to build a new world and contribute to the extension of his kingdom, which is a kingdom of love, justice and peace.”
Let’s respond to Pope Francis’ trust in us to become artisans of peace and to “work, day by day, to make this a good year.” Your steadfast and generous support of CAFOD has enabled our Church partners and local experts to provide shelter, food and safe spaces for families in Ukraine and also to deliver emergency food supplies and clean water to communities affected by food shortages in East Africa.