Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 202

September 14, 2022

We have survived another night. God gives us another day. God, give us peace !!!

The Word…

The Old Testament: “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.’ Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

The New Testament: “Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Today: “‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.’ For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

God is love

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

Cardinal Krajewski visited the brothers in Vinnytsia with Bishop Jan Sobiło. He himself spoke on Vatican Radio about the visiting the Capuchins. I invite you to listen to it (in Polish): www.vaticannews.va
Кардинал Краєвський відвідав Вінницю – rkc.org.ua

Starokostiantyniv. Capuchin monastery and more. (photo)

We thank our Benefactors from Italy, especially Brother Matteo, Provincial of Assisi. Deo gratias. (photo, video)

May God keep and bless us….

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 201

September 13, 2022

A peaceful night. War in the East—some optimistic news. God, give us peace! We pray for the end of the war, for our sick brothers, and for our benefactors.

The Word… “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons.” The word of St. Paul is so simple and romantic. On Ukrainian soil, when we have enemies, invaders, majority Orthodox baptized, these words become difficult and challenging. Let us pray for our enemies and the conversion of our hearts. God is love!!!

We live the war, we do not live the war.

We remember our retreats and the brothers preaching the retreats: Paul and Thomas. Two more group photos before departure from Lviv. (Photo).

Our parishioner from Kyiv, Ania, visits the brothers in Lviv. A pleasant surprise. (photo)

May God protect us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 200

September 12, 2022

A quiet night in our area. Yesterday, Sunday afternoon and evening, there were air raid alerts all over Ukraine. Kharkiv has been shelled; innocent people, ordinary residents of the city were killed. God, give peace!!!

The Word…. St. Paul admonishes, corrects brothers and sisters of the early, forming community of the church. Let us also accept admonitions that come to us from various sources. In the Gospel we find words “Lord, I am not worthy” which we also hear in every Eucharist. This is the truth about us. The miracle of transformation is dominant: God makes me worthy of Himself, so I can receive God into my heart. God is love!

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

Vigil Night. Brothers Kazimierz, Zbigniew, Sergey attend the night vigil together as community. (photo)

Eucharist. For everything and at all times, bless God. The army that kneels before God does not kneel before the enemy. (photo)

Thanks to benefactors, we were able to buy an inexpensive car for army’s needs. (photo)

First day of Fr. Seraphin novena [beatification process of our brother is underway–Henryk]. Commemoration of his death is on September 20th. (photo)

May God keep us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 199

September 11, 2022

We survived the night. There was information that a rocket fell on downtown Dnipro. I am waiting for news from our brothers. Below you can find a report from Br. Yaroslav from Dnipro. In other Capuchin areas it is calm. In the East, the counteroffensive of the ЗСУ (Armed Forces of Ukraine) takes place. God, give us peace.

The Word… They made an idol of gold and bowed to him. This god is not dangerous. Way more dangerous is the one we created in our heads. The real God is the one in today’s Gospel, who is with me, looking for me, waiting for me, forgiving me, loving me. “But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” This God is a God of love. God loves me! God is love!

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

The end of our retreat. Thanks be to God for the retreat directors, brothers Paul and Thomas from Krakow, Poland. Words of gratitude to the brothers and presentation of icons by their author. (photo)

Fraternal lunch of the Lviv fraternity and brothers traveling to Uzhhorod. (photo) A very brief visit to the city of Lviv. (photo) And already at the train station in Lviv. (photo) Towards Krakow, Poland.

Peace Brothers! Church camera recorded the moment of the explosion. No sound—that means no damage. This is how we were greeted upon our return from the annual retreat…. Heartfelt greetings.

May God bless us and keep us safe.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 198

September 10, 2022

Last night was peaceful at our place. Deo gratias !!!

The Word… The first words of today’s readings, from St. Paul’s letter, are very simple and blunt: “My beloved ones, avoid idolatry.” They strike me very much. They remind me of the suffering at the beginning of my years in the Order. I suffered like the proverbial dog, not knowing, not being aware that the god I was praying to was not the true God, who, among other things, was revealed to me in the Word and in the story of my life. I did not see the true God, I did not hear the true God. I saw and listened to myself. This was the source of my suffering.

Years later God sent me an angel named Br. Thaddeus S., who showed me the Word and said, “Seek the true God here, the Father who loves you”… It worked. I encourage you, let’s go together looking for the true God who loves us. God is love!!!

This is the rock on which you can build a life, a home that will not fall, a home that may have been ruined by war, but which still lasts. God loves you.

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

Yesterday, after lunch, together with Br. Paul P. and Br. Casimir, we visited Staryi Ostropil, a small town 25 km from Starokostantyniv, where Franciscan School of Evangelization Center is located. Its founder was the aforementioned Br. Casimir. The School’s convention is being held today. (photo)

Brother Paul sat on a bench where the Venerable Servant of God Fr. Seraphim Kashuba, a Capuchin, liked to sit. (photo) Brother Paul looks at Fr. Seraphim’s memorabilia. (photo) Memorial plaque of Fr. Hilary Wilk (pol. wolf). (photo) Photo from our refectory, Wolf with a lamb. (photo)

We’ve finished our retreat. Thanks be to God. We give our heartfelt thanks to brothers Thomas and Paul .

Icons made by Br. Sergey G. will remind the retreat directors about us. (photo)

The friars listened to talks with supernatural concentration. Under a tree in the monastery choir—that’s a good place to listen too.(photo)

May God protect and bless us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 197

September 9, 2022

A quiet night, a rainy day. We are alive. Thank God. On some sections of the front, the ЗСУ (Armed Forces of Ukraine) is winning. Let us pray for peace in Ukraine and in our hearts.

Another day of our Capuchin retreat in Starokostiantyniv.

The Word… Listening to the words of St. Paul, I have gratitude in my heart for the gift of my life, my vocation, that I can live the Gospel, and that I can preach the Gospel. As for the quality of life and preaching, I believe in the mercy of God and the patience of the listeners. “Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.” God is love!!!

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

Parish feast in the village where, among others, Br. Jacek Siemiak was present. He had to leave Russia. Girls dance in blue and yellow costumes, like the colors of the Ukrainian national flag. (photo) Coincidence? Brother Thomas, thank you for the material.

Another invitation to the “Marian Night of Prayer.” The night, in addition to Mary, is dedicated to St. Joseph. We invite especially men. (photo)

Friars’ retreat:
Yesterday, on Our Lady’s Birthday, we consecrated a statue in the square of the monastery in Starokostiantyniv. (photo) At the Eucharist we thanked God for the gift of the Brothers, in the refectory we congratulate the Brothers. (photo)

Granite pavers in strong bags. (photo) In our prayers, let us remember our Benefactors especially from Renovabis and Kirche in Not. We are waiting for further funds from Cologne.

May God grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 196

September 8, 2022

The name day is celebrated by Br. Sergey Gubicki, of the Starokostiantyniv monastery. Brother, may God show you His true Face and bless you.

The Word… Today is the birthday of the Mother of God. The genealogy of Jesus is read. Today, as I wrote above, we remember Brother Sergey Gubicki, who was conceived and born … in Russia. He is not the only one of us Capuchins born in Russia. One brother was born in Kazakhstan, some other in Ukraine, in Poland. Different birthplaces, different stories, but the vocation is the same, be a Capuchin and live here in unity, peace, in evangelical brotherhood. How? Humanly speaking, it’s not possible, but for God all things are possible. The Holy Spirit will come upon you…

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord… for the Almighty has done great things for you… God is love!!!

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

From the retreat:
Eucharist is the center of our lives. (photo).
Walking, praying, fraternal dialogue in our “Capuchin garden”, now the city stadium surrounded by the historic monastery wall. (photo)
Behold God, who is LOVE!!! (photo)
Women support ЗСУ (Armed Forces of Ukraine) by making camouflage nets. (photo)

Another stage of work on the main stairs of the church. (photo)

Minsk, Belarus:
We rejoice together with our brothers of the Custody of Belarus at the newly built church and monastery. Congratulations. (photo)

Yesterday, all of Ukraine was on missile alert. We at the retreat too. (photo). Thank God, we are alive.

God bless us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 195

September 7, 2022

A quiet night. During the day, very often you can hear and see planes taking off. Whether these are exercises, it is difficult to say. That dark spot above our monastery. (photo) We are alive and thanks be to God.

The Word… I am amazed by such an acceptance that Paul has of different ways of life, of vocation. Christianity is not a sport or a race, who will be first, better. It’s a way of life and in that life, vocation is to see God who loves me as I am. Yes, God loves you as you are today.

A Word from the retreat: GEDEON, full of fears, complexes, unbelief. Just because God has chosen and called him, he overcomes his opponents with the same fear. Book of Judges chapter 6 and on. Later St. Paul, will say: “power in weakness”. He personally finds himself in this Word. And you? God is love! God loves you!

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

It’s Br. Volodya’s from Kryvyi Rih birthday today. Brother, многая літа, 100 years. May God grant you peace.

We begin the third day of the retreat. Oremus.

We remember in prayer for our brothers who are sick. Mary, Healing of the sick, pray for us. St. Padre Pio, pray for us.
We pray for those Brothers who, for various reasons, could not be with us at the retreat, especially the Brothers in Russia.

The distribution of humanitarian aid to refugees, displaced persons and the needy continues in Starokostyantyniv. Let us pray for our Brothers and Benefactors.

May God show us His true face and bless us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 194

September 6, 2022

The night we survived and thank God.

The Word… God says, “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God.” These people cannot be happy, they will not attain the kingdom of God. But there is a way out, no one is lost in God’s eyes: “but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

The initiative comes from God, God gives his grace to the humble …. “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit.” There is a way out! God is love !!!

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

In Vinnytsia:
A visit at the Clara Studio [a film studio creating evangelization films mainly for children and young people, founded by the Capuchins years ago—Henryk Cisowski]. If you do not become like children,… regardless of the long beard. (photo) Visiting the old monastery. (photo).

On the way we visited Krasyliv and had a wonderful lunch there.

We arrived in Starokostiantyniv. Air raid alarm began right when we were entering the city. People started descending to our monastery shelter.

Local newspaper “Simeyna Hazeta” (Family Journal) reports rbout the prominent help from the Capuchin friars. The friars, especially Br. Leonid Kushniruk, have assisted a large family. Let us pray for our Benefactors of the Capuchin world. Deo gratias !

There is a wonderful opportunity to welcome a new member of our Custody of Ukraine, Br. Remigiusz “Patyk” Jankiewicz, who came to us from Krosno, Poland. Patyk’s new community is Vinnytsia. Patrick celebrated his birthday yesterday. God bless him…

In Starokostiantyniv, in the monastery square, the statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje.
In Starokostiantyniv, we began our retreat with prayer, singing “Veni, Creator Spiritus.” (photo)
I already thank all those who promised us their prayers for our Capuchin retreat. Thank you.

First column is already drying. (photo)

May God grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 193

September 5, 2022 — Monday

We survived the night in Vinnitsa. No alarms. We pray for the success of the Ukrainian army on the front line. The civilian population continues to die. God, give us peace.

The Word…. St. Paul writes about immoralities. I remember, I carry in my heart, a word I heard in Dnipro, under the church many years ago. We sang “We fly to Thy protection” asking Mary to help us get the church back. I heard the word of that prayer, “Mary the only pure one.” Who am I if Mary is the only pure one? I am unclean!

God gave me the light “Blessed are the pure in heart…..for they shall see God.” One thing I realized is that I should continue to seek the true face of God, to have a pure heart and live a vow of chastity, among other things. God is love.

We are living a war, not living by war.

Today, Monday, we begin our Capuchin retreat. I very much ask everyone whom this letter reaches to pray for us Capuchins who will come to a monastery and for those who could not come and will be online. I ask for your prayers for our brothers who will preach the Good News to us.


Brother Paweł and Brother Tomasz


Brother Tomasz

In Berdychiv, in front of the image of the Mother of God, we prayed for the Spirit of Mary for the retreat. (photo)

On the way to Vinnytsia, Brother Thomas took a picture of places which were destroyed by Russian occupiers. (photo)

Miracle of God’s love. Sunshine in the west. (photo)

Visiting the community in Vinnitsa. Before arriving at the monastery, we visited the place of death of random Vinnytsia residents. (photo)

In Lviv vigil from Saturday to Sunday and in the afternoon worship at the statue of the Immaculate downtown. Deo gratias! (photo)

May God protect us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 192

September 4, 2022

Thank God we survived another war night. It is generally peaceful. My friend from Kharkov, who lives there, writes me that not only at night there are rocket raids, but also during the day. Once again, thank God for everything. God is love.

The Word… Here is God’s wisdom: “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” What is my cross that I run away from, that I fear? Perhaps the story of life, father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, even myself? “In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” That means to accept your cross, your history, renounce your plans, your ambitions, and you will be happy, even in war, and during war. “Let your face shine upon your servant…” God is love!!!

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

In spite of the war, this Monday begins our annual Capuchin retreat. It will be led by our Capuchin brothers. Thomas, guardian from Krakow, Poland and Paul, rector of our seminary, also from Krakow. Thank God, the brothers are already on their way to Kiev. All presidents, dignitaries come to us by train. Commercial planes are all suspended. War. Similarly, our brothers travel by train. (photo). Thank God, the brothers happily arrived in Kyiv.

Invitation to Prayer of Worship with Mary. (photo)

Last concrete at church entrance. Columns are almost ready.
More good people reached us, God’s own envoys from Warsaw, angels with… sausage for our refugees. Ms. Marta from Warsaw, has reached to us once again. Sr. Bogumila, a Nazareth nun joins God’s service to the displaced. By the way, Sisters, thank you. (photo)

May the Lord grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 191

September 3, 2022 — Saturday. St. Gregory the Great, Pope, Doctor of the Church

We are alive. Thanks be to God.

In other areas of Ukraine regular war. People are being killed, infrastructure is ruined. The “burned land” option is working. God, give us Peace.

Name day of Br. Gregory Romanovich from Voronezh, Russia. Brother, may God show you His true face and bless you. With best wishes. God loves you.

The Word… This word fills me with gratitude. It helps me experience the Eucharist, teaches me to be grateful to God for everything. “What do you possess that you have not received?” Everything I have is a gift. “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.” The same words every day during the Eucharist. “What do you possess that you have not received?” Thank God for everything! In the Spirit of the Word, Jesus is Lord and he is the Lord of the “Sabbath” too. Deo gratias!

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

Peace and all good! Today, unfortunately, another funeral of a soldier from our area who died in the war. Eternal rest grant to him, o Lord! And some comfort—a meeting with the living parishioners fighting for the independence of Ukraine. They came for a while and will return to the outpost. Friars visit the sick (Br. Leonid), as every 1st Friday of the month. We also distribute humanitarian aid by the hands of their representatives. “We are moving and we are alive”. Greetings to all!

Lviv is quiet. We finish filling foundations. Good people help us. Deo gratias! (photo)

Backlog of information: Humanitarian aid volunteers from Hungary (Order of Malta) were with us.

Interesting fact:
A boy (German) and a girl (Hungarian) were in Berlin a few months ago at a concert of the Ukrainian band Okean Elzy. They are fans. As they were in Kiev for a stroll, they rode in the elevator of one of the shopping malls together with the frontman of this band Vakarchuk, whom they could only see from afar among the huge crowd in Berlin. They were surprised by the unexpected encounter. Well, and a selfie, of course.

Well, and the construction flies on. (photo) Flies on…. Till one is dead beat. (photo)

May God grant us Peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 190

September 2, 2022 – Bl. Apollinaire Morel of Posat

God allowed to survive another night. A peaceful night… In Kharkiv, Kherson and other areas, war. God, give us peace.

The Word…

The Word, especially today, gives us very practical advice: “Therefore, do not make any judgment before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God.”

The word is addressed to all of us, to those who are judged and those who judge:
“Do not make any judgment…”
“The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.”
Do not judge the Church of which you are a member. Do not judge Pope Francis. Do not judge. God is love.

We live in war, we don’t live by war.

First invitations to “Alpha Course” are out.
The first bell rings at the School of the Sisters of the Nazareth. Children gather in the premises of our pastoral center. If needed in the lower church, in our “shelter.” (photo)

We’re sending greetings from the relatively peaceful city of Dnipro.
We fight on various fronts. I was at the Dnipro Council of Churches today, and Vadym was in Pokrovsk at the hospital and even closer to the front line near Donetsk. Priests and pastors of the Dnipro Council of Christian Churches. (photo)
Three representatives of Caritas Spes, among others responsible for logistics and management, are hosted at the monastery. Today there was a meeting with parish Caritas directors from Dnipro, Zaporizhzhya, Kamianske, Kryvyi Rih, Nikopol, Pavlohrad (reports, sharing of experience). Tomorrow, the meeting will end. (photo)

Minor repairs, conversion of garage to a chapel. (photo)

Things are quiet in Uzhhorod. A liturgy was held yesterday with the participation of children and the blessing of school supply. (photo)

Our Lady of Starokostiantyniv and war jokes (photo).

May God protect us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 189

September 1, 2022 Thursday

We survived another war night. In the East, in Kharkiv, air raids already happen not only at night, but also during the day. People are being killed. God give us peace.

September 1….. The anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, which was never to happen again…. and yet the war in Ukraine continues.

September 1…. The beginning of the school, academic year. Some schools are stationary, some online.

If a kindergarten, school or university can provide shelter from bombs for pupils or students, teaching can be stationary. Our Capuchin lower churches, basements can be used as shelters. God give us peace, protect our children and youth…..

The Word… Very bold, simple and how unpopular: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their own ruses,’ and again: ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.’” I listen a lot: the wise, politicians, commentators, generals. Some are wise people, but—Caution!—what, which wisdom? When will the war end? Such questions and answers no longer exist. “The Lord’s is the earth and what fills it.” “Master, we worked all night and caught nothing. But at your word I will cast my nets” AT YOUR WORD !!! God is love !!!

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

Traditional statue of the Mother of God in the monastery square. The designer and builder Br. Sergey G. our brother artist. Deo gratias! (photo) Mother of God, Queen of Peace, pray for Ukraine.

It’s quiet at our place. Foam blocks arrived in the morning. Brothers, with the help of good people, are making it. (photo) Invitation to the next “Night of Vigil” with Mary. (photo)
Our fraternity was visited by the Greek Catholic parish priest of St. Andrew’s parish on whose territory our house is located. Father Andrew would like to come for confession. In a word, we are getting to know our neighbors! (photo)

Things are quiet in Kamianske. Yesterday we were with our children on a field trip. We celebrated the end of summer brake. (photo)

May God grant us peace.