Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 217

September 29, 2022

Thank God, it’s quiet in our region. Air missiles fell in Dnipropetrovsk District, where two of our monasteries are. The brothers are alive. God, grant us peace.

Since February, 396 children have been killed, 776 wounded (photo). God, we beg for peace.

The Word… Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus “How do you know me…?” I have seen you, I know you, you are not a stranger to me, I know your name. I am close to you, sometimes it is I who carry you on my back, especially when you are lost and sitting in the shrubs, lost, afraid. I love you and I know you,” says Jesus. My/Your response can be only one: “Rabbi, You are the Son of God, You are the King of Israel!” You are love!

We live in a war, we don’t live by war.

Dubrovnik, Croatia:
Another and the last meeting of the CECOC with such a lineup. (photo)

Today we are celebrating name days of several brothers in the province, including Brother Rafał, provincial vicar, Brother Rafał Ogórek, who was for some time a member of the Custody of Ukraine. To all the name day brothers, peace and love. God loves you.

Our “Clara Studio” from Vinnytsia at Catholic Book Fair in Warsaw. (photo)

Celebrating Thanksgiving—25th anniversary of the Ursuline Sisters of the Heart of Jesus in Dnipro. (photo)

And a few words for Justyn:
Thank you for your long and fruitful ministry in Ukraine. The great works of God that he has done through you we do not forget. I wish you return to health and deepen your friendship with the Lord. It’s good that you are!

State of affairs yesterday. (photo)

Our Capuchin presence in Russia is going through a difficult time. All the more we’re very happy about the presence of Brother Andriy from Belarus. Brothers, may God support you and open the doors of various offices and the hearts of officials.

May God guard and bless you.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 216

September 28, 2022

We survived another night. God gave us a new day. Thanks be to God.

Today we celebrated Eucharist for Roman, a defender of Ukraine, who is on the frontline. It’s Roman’s birthday today. His mother was present. This is the war—far from the front lines—but bringing pain and suffering. God, give us peace.

The Word… Job claims and asks: “How can a man be righteous before God?” The answer to this question is another passage. “A righteous man falls seven times a day” (sins). Therefore, Jesus replies, “Why do you call me good? Only God is good.” Here is the whole truth about us.  And Jesus says, “Follow me”, “I will make you worthy of myself.” God loves you! God is love!

We live in a war, we do not live a war.

Br. Marek is celebrating his name day. Marek, may God Himself show you His true face. I admire you in your availability and openness to God’s presence. God loves you. Best wishes.

Capuchin Friars and Secular Franciscans continue adapting the garages into friar’s chapel. Let us pray for the Brothers and Benefactors. (photo)

Brother Robert Wieczorek, a Capuchin who survived a war in the CAR (Central African Republic). He is currently living and ministering in Sudan plagued by war. He is a brother close to me, to Ukraine. Robert, thank you for your heart, which is also with us, with Ukraine, plagued by war. (photo) By the way, I greet the Capuchin brothers in the Central African Republic.

War among suffering civilians. Photographs for the imagination. (photo)

Yesterday in Uzhgorod we celebrated the cathedral indulgence of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Every year it’s open-door at the bishop’s residence. Children from our Academy went to visit and pray at the tomb of their patron, deceased Bishop Milan. (photo)

May God grant us peace and guard us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 215

September 27, 2022

We survived another war night. Our place in Kyiv is relatively calm. East, south of Ukraine? Regular war. It appears, more and more often, that the war is back in our heads. Survive not only the war, but the coming cold, survive the winter. God, give us peace!!!

The Word…. The freedom God gives to man is a great mystery. Job, who opens his mouth and… curses the day of his birth. God who loves him allows people to make wars, to sin and even walk away from God. Only such love allows such freedom. Hence, the oft-repeated words of Jesus, “If you want… if you will….” A Christian does not have to do anything. “If you want….”

God is love !!! “Lord, my God, I cry out to you in the day, I grieve before you at night. Let my prayer reach you, set your ear to my cry.” Ps 88

We live in war, we do not live by war.

“Let the will of heaven be done….”
After 31 years of living, working, being present in Ukraine, our brother Justyn, for health reasons, had to return to the province of Krakow, Poland. To God and to you, Justyn, for everything be thanks. Thank you. If God allows…. see you soon!

Dubrovnik, Croatia:
Yesterday began a meeting of major superiors of Central and Eastern Europe—the last one in present configuration of CECOC [Capuchin Conference of Central and Eastern Europe]. I do not participate in the meeting for objective reasons.  I thank and warmly greet all brothers gathered in Dubrovnik. Although we are far away, thanks to brotherly love, prayer and financial support, we are close. Deo gratias!

We had a tactical medicine training in our lower church–in the shelter. As the participants say, God grant it will never be of use to us. (photo)

Yesterday we celebrated together the name day of Bro. Vladislav. Brother, once again, best wishes. (photo)

Tomorrow Br. Marek will celebrate his name day. May God show you his true face. Best wishes.

May God protect us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 214

September 26, 2022

God et us live through another night and gave us a new day. We pray for victims of war, broken families, for the wounded, often without arms and legs. God give us peace….

The Word… Another request that can affect my life. I can be happy even in war. “Turn your ear, hear my word.” Hear the Word: God is love. In true love, there is no fear. True love removes fear. (1 John 4:10.18)

We live in war, we do not live by war.

Another meeting of the Alpha Course. The majority of the people are displaced persons. (photo) A gift from God himself through the intercession of St. Pio–land and church on 1b Perov Boulevard. (photo) Another meeting of the chaplains of the Christian Relief Service in our lower church, shelter.

Br. Maciej celebrates his birthday. (photo) Deo gratias! Br. Zbyszek misses Krasyliv while he’s at a meeting of the School of Mary.

Expansion of the garage, chapel is underway. (photo)

May God give us peace!

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 213

September 25, 2022

The Day of the Lord—a good day. Thank God, we are alive. War in the East and South of Ukraine.

In spontaneous prayers of the people you can hear their suffering, fear and desire for peace. People are praying for their loved deceased and at the same time for those who are fighting for our and the so-called European freedom.

The Word… Can the rich enter the kingdom of heaven? Is Christianity for the poor? There is an answer for both questions in today’s Word: the rich does not know when, through his pride, he becomes like God. Such a one will not enter the Kingdom of God.

The rich—grateful to God for wealth—will support the needy, such a rich person will enter the Kingdom of God. Hence, Christianity is for all people—the rich and the poor—because God comes first, not wealth which passes away with the person who is wealthy. “Jesus Christ, being rich, became poor for you, that he might enrich you with his poverty.” God is love.

We live in war, we do not live by war.

Krakow, Poland:
Symposium dedicated to the Servant of God Seraphim Kaszuba. Among many distinguished guests, people from Russia, Ukraine and Poland—all places of special presence of Fr. Seraphin. (photo)

Brother Vladislav celebrates his name day. Brother, thank God for the gift of your life and vocation.  May God bless you. Best wishes!

Community meeting of the School of Mary. (photo)
Brother Maciej Styburski, guardian and pastor of the parish celebrates his birthday today. (photo). Maciej, may God show you his true face, his true LOVE!

Academy of Development (therapy) named after Bishop Milan. The first course (one more course follows). First meeting with announcement of exam results—everyone passed… (photo) Then there was a celebration. Pizza, chips and cake. (photo) They made fruitcakes for the first course. And a youth meeting. (photo)

May God bless us and keep us safe.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 212

September 24, 2022

We have survived another night. We enter the new day with courage. A gift from God. A new day. Deo gratias!

The Word… These words of Qoheleth apply to all ages. Old age can be rejoiced in when youth has been lived with God. “Rejoice, O youth, in thy youth, and let thy heart rejoice in the days of thy youth.” It is not true that God failed designing old age. At all times, God is present and close to everyone. We thank God for the gift of our lives, regardless of age. War has deprived many people of this gift. Are you alive? Give thanks to God. God is love!

We live in war, we do not live by war.

Yesterday, we celebrated the feast of St. Padre Pio at our shrine. There were Conventual friars from Boryspil. Br. Adam, our councilor, guardian and pastor from Kamianske came too. People, despite the curfew being still in effect, came to the Eucharist. There were also our friend nuns. Thank God for everything. (photo)

In the chapel of Padre Pio there was a presentation of decorations for loyalty to the homeland on the battlefield. As much as I can write.

Work continues on the steps and the square in front of the church. We continue to pray for the Brothers and Benefactors.

Peace and all good! Yesterday, we celebrated St. Padre Pio. The patron saint of our retreat house brought more than 160 people of different ages and from different places to a meeting of the School of Mary. And for all those frightened by the increasingly low temperatures, St. Padre Pio took care of the source of energy. In Krasyliv we began to diversify our energy sources.

May God protect us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 211

September 23, 2022 (St. Padre Pio)

We survived another war night. Thank God!

Saint Padre Pio is a living Saint. He is the patron saint of our presence in Ukraine and of our Custody. With his help, many problems–insurmountable for us–we managed to survive.

After February 24–when the war began–having a night watch, I often went to him asking for help and intercession. At our place in Kyiv, where the shrine of Padre Pio is, the hostilities did not affect us. The Russians did not enter Kyiv. Saint Padre Pio, pray for us.

The Word… Put Jesus first, and in your life, I promise you, you will have time for everything, just as Qoheleth says. You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. God is love!

We live in a war, we do not live a war.

Miracles in our custody through the intercession of Padre Pio:

Returning to our Vinnytsia monastery.

Receiving land, collecting documentation for the construction of a church in Kyiv.

Beginning of construction of the Kyiv monastery.

Our presence in Dnipro and Kamianske.

End of struggle, recovery of the church and beginning of the renovation of the church in Dnipro.

Completion of construction and occupancy of the church and monastery in Kyiv.

Spiritual and material assistance we have received and are receiving to serve and help the victims of this war. Let us pray for our Benefactor Brothers. These are just some of the visible, tangible miracles of Padre Pio in our Custody of Ukraine.

Yesterday, there was an air raid alert at our place. Kindergarten children sheltered in our lower church. (photo) Academy is working, and in the evening there was a youth meeting. (photo)

Invitation to Prayer of Worship with Mary. (photo)

May God guard us and grant us peace.
St. Pio, pray for us and for Ukraine.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 210

September 22, 2022

We have survived more than two hundred nights of war. We are glad that we have war-peace. We do not forget, those who fight and, unfortunately, die in this war that is not needed by anyone.

The Word… One may be afraid of the following words of Qoheleth. Who is afraid? He who has not recognized true true love. God is love, therefore…: “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” Don’t be afraid. God loves you. God is love.

We live in war, we do not live by war.

Last night our brother Roman Pop, MD (doctor) defended his doctorate in moral theology and became a double doctor.
Roman, congratulations to you, our Capuchin family rejoices. Despite the war, we have reasons to rejoice. (photo) Congratulations once again. Deo Gratias!!!

From Croatia, Br. Jure writes:
Brother Błażej, thank you for news from Ukraine that you regularly send us. The death of volunteer Andre Fabijanić echoed in Croatia as well. He loved Ukraine. A street will be dedicated to him in Zagreb. May God grant Ukraine peace and turn the aggressors away from evil. Greetings to you and all brothers in Ukraine. Jure.

Our brothers on the road, Viktor and Andriy reached their destination, each in their own direction. (photo) Deo gratias!

Thanks to God, to our benefactors and the efforts of Br. Constantine M. we received another document, important for our residence in the Capuchin monastery at 12/14 Sobotnia Str. Thank God.

Grzegorz Górny wrote an article in which he wants to answer for himself and others what is the phenomenon of patriotism of Ukrainians, not only soldiers, but also the population: “Ukrainians, however, said no. They chose to fight, ready to pay for it with their own lives. And thousands of them have already paid such a price. Why? Because they don’t want to be Russians. They would rather die than allow such a fate to befall themselves or their loved ones.
Some Ukrainians, when asked by me why they made such a choice, answer: Because we are free people; Russians are a nation with the soul of slaves; we do not want to be slaves.”
“It’s better to die than to be Russian”
https://wpolityce.pl/swiat/614837-lepiej-umrzec-niz-byc-rosjaninem [in Polish]

Tomorrow is the last day of retreat. Signs of the times. Prayer from a smartphone. (photo)

May God guard us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 209

September 21, 2022

God has given us to live through another war night. In the East and South of Ukraine, regular war against the occupying forces. One of the brothers prayed: Give our enemies conversion, but in their land, in Russia. May it be so. Amen.

The Word… God, give me such courage in faith: “… He said to him: ‘Follow Me!’ And he got up and followed Him.” How many less problems I would have had, if I had followed Jesus instead of going before Jesus. Courage, let’s follow Jesus. “Follow Me!”

We live in a war, we don’t live by war.

Today is the 45th anniversary of the death of our candidate for the altars, Venerable Servant of God, Fr. Seraphin Kashuba. Short film in Ukrainian: https://youtu.be/ttnJq0ZKf2Q

In addition to your prayers for his beatification, you can still join a symposium in Krakow, Poland this Saturday. We want to cordially invite you.

For those who will not be able to be present at Saturday’s symposium, we are preparing a broadcast on the YouTube channel of the Krakow monastery. Below is the link of the channel, this information can be passed on to friends so that they also have the opportunity to watch.

Cardinal Krajewski talks about his experience in the frontier zone. (photo)

Sad news for the Croatian brothers and for us. One of the Polish volunteers writes:
Andro Fabijanić—a Croatian volunteer from Zagreb, a friend of mine, born on 31.03.1993–died on 12.09.2022. He died in Donbas! A wonderful man loved and respected Ukraine like me! He carried food and medicine for the people. (photo)

Wonderful Fanciscan youth. No less wonderful, but not perfect Capuchin brothers: Volodya and Igor. (photo)

A village in Ukraine and Franciscan … youth. (photo)

Today in Kamianskie we are distributing winter clothes for refugees. (photo)

Obukhiv near Kiev:
A retreat for priests (photo)

May God protect us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 208

September 20, 2022

We survived another war night. We survived! To some others this was not given. In other areas where regular war is going on, people are dying. God, I ask you for peace!

I started a retreat for priests in Obukhiv, near Kiev. I ask for your prayers.

The Word… There is confirmation in the Word that I am called by God to happiness. The only way is: “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and observe it.” To listen to the Word and to observe it faithfully in the heart—I enter into an intimate, close relationship with God: “My mother and my brothers are those who listen to the word of God and act on it.” This is the path of happiness. God is love!

We live in war, we don’t live by war.

Brother Victor is on the road—currently, with his brothers in Belarus. Pictured with Brother Andriy, who is also on the road…. (photo) Brothers, may Padre Pio guide you.

In our parish began the first “Alpha Course” after the pandemic and during the war. Most of the people are refugees, displaced persons. (photo) First cobblestones, laid in the square in front of the church. (photo) Let us pray for our benefactors. Deo gratias!

45 years ago, the Venerable Servant of God Seraphin Kaszuba [our friar who remained in the Soviet Union after World War II to minister to Catholics undercover—Henryk] passed away to the House of the Father. Let us pray for the grace of his beatification. https://youtu.be/9dRLSVxGFhc
Another night of vigil. This time with St. Padre Pio. We invite you to join us. (photo) Brother Casimir with the blessing. Let’s pray for our boys from ЗСУ (Armed Forces of Ukraine). (photo)

May God bless us and keep us safe.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 207

September 19, 2022

Another night and a new day, this time in Kyiv. It’s peaceful back home but there’s still war in eastern Ukraine. More graves, places of torture and tragedies of the civilian population have been discovered in occupied territories. Izyum. This is a new site of the drama of this war.

The Word… “For there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.”

As I read, listen to the word, I again return to the city of Izyum, where graves are being discovered, places that someone may have thought would not be discovered. The Gospel, is being fulfilled here and now before our eyes. “Be careful, therefore, how you listen.” In this context, the truth that “God is love” is difficult to accept, but it is the truth. God is love!

We live in war, we do not live by war.

Brother Stanisław Mański celebrated his name day yesterday, September 18. Stasiu, may God’s love ignite you to continue your fruitful service to brothers and people. Cheers! With the gift of prayers and best wishes.

Martin Izyk, our angel, came to the brothers in Dnipro on his way back from—among others—Izyum. (photo)

Let the word of Fr. Pio, which I received from my sister Margaret from Wałcz, Poland, be an encouragement to us in difficult moments, war life: “Trust, and do not worry….”

In Starokostiantyniv, the opening of a new school year in the Polish language class. Children and young people gather at our Capuchin monastery. The class is taught by the noble Mrs. Iryna, our parishioner. (photo)

In Lviv, in the “Capuchin gardens” meetings with supporters of our monastery. (photo)

Peace! Today, in our church in Krasyliv, the blessing of the memorial plaques commemorating the repressed Poles (Catholics) by the Stalinist regime in the 1930s took place. The dedication was performed by Bishop Radoslav Zmitrovich in the presence of the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Vinnytsia, Mr. Damian Ciarciński . Also present were Mrs. Nila Ostrovska, chairwoman of the Krasyliv OTG (city major), Mrs. Irena Morozovich (city secretary), and others. The atmosphere was very family-like and warm, despite the rain outside.
Later, there was a tasty dinner and long conversations at the table, which went until 9:30 p.m. Mr. Consul stayed for the night, and one of the brothers went to pray the rosary to pray, among other things, for vocations to our order with the hope that there will be brothers in the future (probably called from Lviv or Uzhgorod) who will bury us, old ones, in 40+ years. Greetings to Br. Stanislaw M. on the occasion of his name day !

May God protect us….

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 206

September 18, 2022

Another night behind us. Today, I finished my retreat at the seminary in Horodok and returned to Kyiv. Thanks be to God for everything.

The Word… In response to the Word from today’s liturgy, let me ask you for prayers for Ukraine, for President Zelenskyy, for an end to the war and a just peace: “I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. ” May it be so. Amen! God hears every prayer. God is love!

We live in a war, we do not live by war.

Unfortunately war. Izyum. A report from one of the angels, already known to us from previous reports. Marcin Izyk, a father of 6 children from Lubicz near Toruń, Poland, who reached Izyum with humanitarian aid. A town only just liberated from Russian occupation. (photo) It is said to be the second Bucha, in terms of terror victims, among civilians. Thanks be to God for angels like Marcin and his family. We send greetings to his wife Ela and their children.

Tonight we had a vigil for peace in Ukraine with the Charismatic Renewal.

May God protect us and grant us Peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 205

September 17, 2022

Below is a report by Br. Sergey K. – an account for people with strong psyche and healthy nerves, and maybe a little faith is needed. Below….. Lord, forgive them….

The Word… Once again the Word encourages me to be open to listen to God, to his Word and not to myself and my thoughts. “Blessed are those who keep the Word of God in a good and noble heart and bear fruit through their perseverance.” Let’s ask God that we be that land on which the Word falls and bears fruit. God is love.

Jesus said to everyone: “If anyone wishes to follow Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will keep it.” God is love!!!

We live in war, we do not live by war.

A visit of the mother general of the Josephite Sisters in Starokostiantyniv. (photo) By the way, there was a change in the superior. Sister Svetlana became a new superior. We thank Sister Egidia very much for her service. (photo)

Visit of Cardinal Konrad Krajewski together with Bishop Jan Sobiło to our parish and fraternity in Dnipro, as well as to the convent of Ursuline nuns. Br. Yaroslav, guardian and pastor in Dnipro invites you to watch video/photo. https://youtu.be/8YeFr5QVjGU

A while ago I spoke with Mrs. Ola—she came from Kramatorsk some time ago, started going to church, volunteers to help in the garden… A very good person. Now she told me about the fate of her niece.
The niece lived in Izyum. The Russians entered there back in March. They entered quickly. The niece did not manage to escape. From that time on, they lost contact with her. Now Izyum has been liberated several days ago. So the affairs of the Russians are being uncovered. Today Ms. Ola received information about her niece… She was found in a basement killed, with her eyes gouged out, her 4-year-old child with his hand chopped off was lying on top of her… They did not manage to escape… This is where I think it is necessary to keep quiet… And ask with God for strength. Such are the stories around us….

May God bless us and may he guard you and grant you peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 204

September 16, 2022

We’ve survived another night. Currently there are more air raid alarms during the day than at night. Thanks be to God for everything. We are alive. May God give the spirit to live for the glory of God. We pray for peace in Ukraine.

The Word… Jesus is risen, he is alive and we are witnesses to this. “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have revealed the mysteries of the kingdom to the simple.”

One more thing, I thank God for all the good women God has put on my path. Deo gratias! God is love.

We live in war, we do not live by war.

Cardinal Krajewski in Odessa. A short word in Polish. I invite you to listen to it.

Retreat in Horodok. Before me, Br. Justyn gave a retreat at this seminary. Photo at a historical exhibit. (photo)

Lviv was visited by French Catholic television. They are making a film about the benefactors. (photo)

Nazareth Families Movement at Mass in renovated hall. (photo)

On September 21, Brother Roman will defend his doctorate in moral theology. We already congratulate Brother Roman and ask for prayers for our doctoral student. Oremus!

May God keep us safe.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 203

September 15, 2022

A quiet night. There was a brief air ride alarm last night. We are alive. In the East regular war. God, we ask you for peace.

I am in Horodok, Khmelnytskyi province. I started a retreat for the local Diocesan Seminary. I ask for your prayers. (photo)

The Word… From today’s Liturgy of the Eucharist, I am touched by two words that, despite everything, fill me with joy.

The first – “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” Thanks to God, I am what I am… This is all thanks to God.

The second word – “Your faith has saved you, go in peace!”. Faith small like a mustard seed, but faith great in God who is love. God is love.

We live in war, we do not live by war.

Yesterday was Eucharist at the Carmelites on the occasion of the patronal feast. The Mass was presided by our Br. Sergey Kippa, superior of our monastery, parish priest and dean of Left Bank Kyiv, who also preached the Word. (photo)

Ukrainian accents related to Pope Francis. A Greek Catholic nun presents a bouquet of flowers. (photo) The translator is a friar minor from Ukraine.

Sharhorod, Vinnytsia province (yesterday):
The end of the Year of the Holy Cross was celebrated. (photo) There was a delegation of the Capuchins, Br. Patryk and Br. Igor from Vinnytsia and Br. Błażej from Kyiv. Thank you to all of you who prayed for Ukraine yesterday, for peace and an end to the war. May God reward you.

Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Ukrainians pray for peace in their hearts and in their homeland. (photo, Br. Jerzy Steliga)

May God bless and keep us.