24 February 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
May the Lord give you peace!

I arrived here in Mexico City this morning for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Province of San Junipero Serra, and as soon as I got off the plane, I received the news of the war that has now broken out in Ukraine, with the invasion that all the press is talking about.

I was able to communicate with the Minister Provincial of Ukraine, Brother Danyil Botvina, and he informed me that the friars are well, especially in the friary of Konotop, a city already occupied by the Russians, and that they have remained there with the people, so as not to abandon them, and that they are safe.

For the rest, Br. Danyil shared with me the situation of concern and intense prayer, so that the cessation of the noise of the weapons. Europe has not seen a spectacle like this since way back in 1945.

It is something very shocking, which, as Pope Francis said at yesterday’s audience, causes anguish and pain.

Prayer, combined with fasting, is the poorest of human resources from a political point of view, but it is the most powerful if we see things from God’s perspective. Only He can touch hearts and minds. He can stop the useless and harmful noise of weapons.

Only God can convert our hearts, because we know that the seed of war and violence is within each one of us and not outside of us. Praying and fasting lead us to conversion of heart and life, and bring this land bathed in innocent blood closer to the mercy of the Father. In the Scriptures, the blood is not dried from the earth so that God can hear the voice of His poor and we cannot remain indifferent.

Prayer and fasting also brighten our inner gaze, so that we can read the signs of the times and not remain distracted but become witnesses. What happens in a distant place affects us all, and this is true for so many conflicts, especially the forgotten ones.

Now, let us fervently pray for the victims, for the many people who are already fleeing, especially to Poland where our brothers are already organizing themselves to welcome them. Let us pray for our brothers living in Ukraine and for those entrusted to their care.

I am asking all the brothers, every fraternity, all the Poor Clares and all the monasteries to pray daily at this time for peace in Ukraine and for peace wherever it is disturbed. On the 2nd day of March, the Pope is inviting us to a day of prayer and fasting and I am asking all the brothers and sisters who feel this inner inspiration to do the same, for example once a week, to invoke peace. May the Holy Spirit make us intercessors and agents of peace and reconciliation. Let us together entrust this intention to the Immaculate Virgin, the Mother of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.

I greet you all from my heart, as we invoke together the blessing of St. Francis, who made the proclamation and practice of peace the heart of his and all our evangelical life.

Fraternal greetings

Massimo Fusarelli OFM 

General Minister and Servant