The families of Catholic troops serving with Ukrainian and Russian forces were "deeply confused and worried" about the military confrontation in the Crimean peninsula.
In addition to prayers, Pope Francis urged the parties involved in the conflict to engage in dialogue.
The three months of protests in Ukraine that ended with government snipers killing dozens of people strengthened the commitment to democracy of many Ukrainians, but also left the country vulnerable to further violence and division, said the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
"The danger that our neighbor (Russia) will provoke a civil war has not passed," Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych told reporters in Rome Feb. 25, adding that the protests have solidified the Ukrainian people's commitment to independence, freedom and democracy.
A day after at least 75 people were reported killed in clashes between police and protesters in Ukraine's capital, Pope Francis asked the College of Cardinals to send a message of support to the two Ukrainian cardinals who are suffering because their people are.
This week, I was a guest speaker in a journalism class at the University of Maryland. The class is called The Religion Angle, and it's taught by a seasoned religion journalist, Ira Rifkin, who used to work with Religion News Service.
After violent confrontations between protesters and police and the deaths of more than 20, church leaders called for an end to all violence.
Morning Briefing: More news about the family synod; Ukraine has its bloodiest day of violence since the riots started; Church of England offers prayers for same-sex marriage.
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, Ukraine, head of the Ukrainian Catholic church, capped a weeklong visit to the United States by asking all people of goodwill to join Ukrainian Catholics in prayer to resolve the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine.
Each night at 9 p.m. -- 2 p.m. EST -- Ukrainians pray one Our Father and one Hail Mary for the intention for a peaceful and nonviolent resolution to the crisis in Ukraine.
Olga Shulga said her father has never lived in fear. So when she learned he had joined the protesters in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, she wasn't all that surprised.
Shulga and her husband, Alex, members of St. Mary's Assumption Ukrainian Catholic Parish in St. Louis, are among those prayerfully watching as the unrest continues to unfold in Ukraine.
Faith and Justice: Part of the reason Pope Francis chose "Francis" as his papal name was the saint's "spirit of peace." How will the pope reflect that?