Prayer for Peace in Ukraine

The Bishop is asking the faithful throughout the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown to join him in praying for peace in Ukraine as Russian forces invade the Eastern European country. 

The Bishop stands united in prayer with Ukrainian Catholics in that troubled part of the world and with the local Ukrainian Catholic population here in Central Pennsylvania. During this difficult time, he is inviting everyone to join him in praying the following ancient prayer.   

We fly to Your patronage, O Virgin Mother of God. Despise not our prayers in our needs, but deliver us from all dangers, since you alone are pure and blessed.

O most glorious Ever-Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ our God, accept our prayers and present them to Your Son and our God, that for the sake of You, He enlighten and save our souls.

“This prayer is a unique part of the spiritual heritage of the Catholic and Orthodox Christians of the Ukraine, dating back to the 10th or 11th century. It is quite similar to the Memorare prayer that most of us learned as children. As we watch the unfolding developments from Ukraine, it is often difficult to process our thoughts and feelings. That’s where a prayer like this can bring calm to our disturbed minds and hearts, and especially to our world.” 

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Synod means “Journeying Together.” It involves listening to the Holy Spirit and to each other to discern the path we are called to walk together as Church.  Usually when we think of a Synod, we think of a Gathering of Cardinals, Bishops and the Pope, and it is occurring in Rome. Pope Francis has Called this  particular Synod for the People. You and I and the people who gather in the pews each week. Pope Francis want to hear from the whole church about what is  happening in local churches, what is happening here at St. Joseph Parish in Bellwood. Synodality is simply, a way of being Church. It is not a program. The basic  question of the Synod is this: What is the Holy Spirit saying to our Church today? Through listening and discernment, which is rooted in the Holy Spirit, the  entire people of God will be called to contribute to a process by which the Church deepens and embraces her understanding of the Church’s mission and looks to the future with hope. By entering into this process, every member of the diocese is invited to offer their thoughts on how to grow in holiness, to be intentional disciples, and being sent to witness to others about the beauty of our faith. our input will assist our Parish and diocese in moving forward with parish Spiritual  Growth. Through the Synod, everyone baptized Catholic is being invited to personal conversion and to be a Church on mission. “The Church does not have a  mission; the mission has a Church.” The primary function of the Church is to proclaim Jesus Christ and draw all people into an intimate relationship with him.

If  you would like to better understand the meaning of Synod and Synodality and how you can participate, please come to the “Understanding the Synod” meeting on Monday, February 28, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Saint Joseph Parish Social Hall. Snacks and good conversation will be provided.