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Ukrainians Seek Blessing for Rehabilitation Center; the pope calls for action for peace

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The mayor of Lviv, Ukraine, and a team of medics treating war-wounded have presented Pope Francis with a cross with encrusted shrapnel removed from the body of a young girl.

“By giving the cross to the pope, we hope he will pray every day for the injured children,” Mayor Andriy Sadovy told reporters Dec. 7 after meeting the pope at the end of his weekly general audience.

Pope Francis asked everyone attending his audience to pray that Mary would comfort everyone living under the brutality of war, especially the people of Ukraine.

The pope also highlighted the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of “Operation Reinhard,” the Nazi plan to kill Jews in German-occupied Poland, a plan that succeeded in murdering some 2 million Jews.

“May the memory of this horrible event stir up in each of us resolutions and actions for peace”, declared the pope, before adding that “history repeats itself”. We see what is happening today in Ukraine. Let us pray for peace.

Dr. Oleh Samchuk, director general of a hospital in Lviv, the first territorial medical association, accompanied the mayor and other officials seeking not only prayers from Pope Francis, but also his blessing for the uninterrupted national rehabilitation center, a facility they hope to bring and psychiatric healing to victims of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

“We showed the pope our project, and he blessed it,” Sadovy said.

Since Russia launched its war in late February, the major said, more than 5 million Ukrainians fleeing the fighting have come to Lviv, a major city in western Ukraine. While most continued to safety in neighboring European countries, Lviv became a major hub for helping those displaced by war and for organizing aid to needy towns and villages in the East.

Among the displaced, he said, were 11,000 injured people, “mainly women and children”, who required surgery.

Samchuk hospital is still full, he said, but staff continue to do all they can to treat the injured, including setting up a prosthetic workshop.

In early December, the hospital had also fitted two patients with bionic arms, thanks to the work of an American-Ukrainian company, Esper Bionics, assisted by the Dutch company Symphony Solutions.

The project’s website – unbroken.org.ua – states: “Our goal is to help Ukrainians stay ‘unbroken’ and get all the help they need here, in their own country, close to their families.

Read more Crisis in Ukraine

Copyright © 2022 Catholic News Service/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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