MUMBAI, India – Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon says Christians mark Holy Week reflecting on the “devastating toll of conflict even in the birthplace of Jesus, Ukraine, and our own soil.”

The President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar and President of Federations of Asia Bishops Conferences said in a message, “let us raise our voices in fervent prayer for peace.”

“As we embark on this sacred journey through the season of Lent, a time for introspection and reconciliation, let us unite in response to the resounding call for peace that emanates from the depths of Pope Francis’s heart and echoes throughout our wounded world,” the cardinal said in the message, which was titled “Embracing the Dawn of Peace: A Call to End the Long Nights of Conflict and Fear.”

“Together, let us kneel in solidarity, imploring the Almighty to dispel the darkness of conflict and usher in a new dawn of hope and harmony,” he added.

“Let us implore the Almighty to bestow upon us the divine gift of peace infused with justice, guiding us towards a brighter future,” Bo continued.

“Let us cherish the abundant human resources bestowed upon our land and nurture them to flourish, rather than allowing them to wither amidst the turmoil of war. Investing in the next generation is investing in a durable peace,” he said.

In his Jan. 8 address to bishops, Pope Francis noted said that as the year 2024 opens the world is “increasingly lacerated” by conflict, and as “the distinction between military and civil objectives is no longer respected.”

“There is no conflict that does not end up in some way indiscriminately striking the civilian population,” he said, adding, “The events in Ukraine and Gaza are clear proof of this.”

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In his Lenten Message, Bo said the world should heed Francis’s “clarion call,” which the cardinal said embracing dialogue and reconciliation as the foundations of our collective journey towards peace.

“Let us cultivate the flame of hope within our hearts, steadfast in our resolve to eradicate the divisive forces of hatred and strife,” Bo said.

“Pope Francis has often invited young people not to let ‘hope be stolen.’ Faced with the conflicts and problems that the world experiences today, we must revive our hope by trusting in the Risen Christ, who conquered death and gave us true life,” the cardinal writes.

“This hope generates light to life, overcomes discouragement, generates solidarity and counteracts all the seeds of violence that a culture of indifference and confrontation, sow in our societies and prepare the ground for wars,” he said.

“Together, let the world pledge to transform instruments of war into tools of peace, and all fears into unwavering trust. Let our words echo the universal language of fraternity, and may our actions be guided by the pursuit of peace,” Bo continued.

“In this sacred quest for peace, let us invoke divine grace to soften the hearts of those entrenched in violence and empower them to embrace the path of reconciliation,” he said.