John Paul II Praying for Peace in Ukraine

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2004 ( John Paul II says he prays constantly for peace in Ukraine, a country in crisis over its disputed Nov. 21 presidential elections.

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“My thoughts go to the Ukrainian pilgrims present in this square,” the Pope said from the window of his study today, when addressing some 30,000 pilgrims gathered below in St. Peter’s Square.

“I assure you of my prayer for peace in your country,” added the Holy Father, who visited Ukraine in June 2001.

During last Wednesday’s general audience, John Paul II assured the pilgrims present of his prayer for peace in the former Soviet republic.

On Saturday, Ukraine’s Parliament declared the fraud-tainted election invalid amid international calls for a new vote. The country is awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court on Monday.

About 13% of Ukraine’s 47 million inhabitants are Catholic, mainly of the Eastern rite. Most of the population is Orthodox.

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