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Bishop shares pastoral statement on Russian invasion of Ukraine

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BALANGA CITY — Bishop Ruperto C. Santos of the Diocese of Balanga on Monday shared a pastoral statement from Stella Maris–Philippines on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, asking all to do everything to prevent war and to exhaust all means to stop it.

The Bataan prelate, a chaplain of Stella Maris–Philippines, said it was also their solidarity with the Holy Father who appealed for prayers and fasting on March 2, Ash Wednesday, that marks the start of the Lenten season.

The pastoral statement described war as a scourge to humanity bringing just death and destruction and where there are no victors but only victims that affects everything and hurting everyone, including jeopardizing global maritime trade.

“War disrupts the global supply chain. Shipping is responsible for the movement of 90 percent global trade. With the sacrifices of seafarers, food and fuel, medicines and machineries reach their destinations,” it said.

Quoting from the International Charter of Shipping, the statement said Russian and Ukrainian seafarers make up of 14.5% of global shipping workforce while the Philippines have more than 400 thousand seafarers, manning more than 60,000 ships in the whole world.

Stella Maris–Philippines urged that man must always resort to peace and goodwill, turning and returning to God.

“To God nothing is impossible for He can do everything and God matters. Let us pray constantly and consistently to God for the cessation of hostilities, to the end of war in Ukraine. Let us pray without ceasing, begging our almighty God for the change of hearts of those who were deeply involved, conversion that all will be open to dialogue, to diplomacy and give peace a chance,” the statement said.

“We, the chaplains of Stella Maris-Philippines, are one with our Holy Father, Pope Francis in prayers, in sacrifices and fasting for the peaceful resolution and all involved will come out to contrition, compassion,” it further said.

Bishop Santos said that they are always praying for peace and for the protection of seafarers, vessels and cargo, offering Holy Masses for the safety of all, respect to human life and end to the war.

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