Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 234

October 16, 2022

The Word… In the first reading there is great optimism for us in Ukraine. The war will end. Ukraine will win, because so many people are praying for this intention. We pray, we fast, God will give us an end of the war and victory of Ukraine. We pray for our occupants, for the victims of this war that is unnecessary for anyone. God is love.

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

Radio Maria broadcasted on Thursday the Eucharist from our monastery which was celebrated and the homily was preached by Br. Patryk Jankiewicz. Patryk came to our custody at the end of August. (photo)

One of the groups of altar boys at our Vinnytsia monastery. Brother Igor, the good shepherd. (photo)

May God grant us peace and guard us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 233

October 15, 2022

Thank God, we are alive. In our area the night was quiet. In the morning, after 7 o’clock, there was a nationwide air raid alarm all over Ukraine. Kyiv area was attacked. Attacks in Zaporizhzhia Region continue. God, grant us peace!!!

The Word… St. Paul prays for us as well: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call…” There is a temptation to turn all our attention to war, alarms and thus to forget, not to see and not to hear the most important voice that gives me life and peace.

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

“Sisters of Hope. Unknown stories of heroic women fighting in Ukraine.” A new book by Agata Puścikowska was recently published. On the cover you can see Sr. Małgorzata Stankiewicz, a Capuchin sister, superior of a small community of three in Krasyliv. The sisters cooperate with the Capuchins in Krasyliv. (photo)

Belgorod, Russia:
One of the city’s heating plants was on fire for unknown reasons, at least officially. (photo) Hopefully, Br. Marek is safe.  By the way, brothers Grzegorz Rusin and Grzegorz Ogórek are currently in Poland. They plan, after receiving an invitation from a parish, to apply for a visa for Russian Federation. Oremus.

Bishop Jan Sobilo who lives in Zaporizhzhia asks cordially for help in praying for the city of Zaporizhzhia and for Ukraine. (photo)

Invitation to prayer of worship. (photo)

War. Life walks alongside death. Death is defeated.
A wedding in our church in Vinnytsia is a sign of victory of life over death. Jesus is life. God is love in war too. (photo)

We make supplies for winter. We harvested mushrooms with Anton in the woods near Chepelivka. (photo)
Yesterday’s “rosary uprising” in Krasyliv gathered about 50-60 people. For the past 5 years, on every 13th day of the month, we have been praying in the city square for, among other things, the conversion of Russia, for peace… and now clearly for victory in the war. (photo)
Sr. Małgorzata teaches Polish. (photo)

May God protect us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 232

October 14, 2022

We are alive. God has given us a new day.

I’m in Vinnytsia. It’s been a calm day here. Last night and this morning were really bad in Zaporizhzhia. The occupiers will not spare people, the city. Let us pray for Ukraine, for the people who defend our lands, for the ЗСУ (Armed Forces of Ukraine). God, grant us peace.

The Word… Here is the Word, the Good News for me, for people living in war. “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”  In Jesus we are called to life. Our vocation is life and not death. A Christian does not die. God is love.

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

Brother Vladislav Gmyrko celebrates his birthday today. Vlad, многая літа, many years. We are grateful for your story, your parents, your sister and for… Kazakhstan. May God bless you.

Invitation. Brothers continue to pray in squares of the city of Lviv. (photo) Today is the day of the Defenders of Ukraine. Once again, I encourage you to pray for Ukrainian military, their families and for all victims of this war, living and dead. (photo)

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the 6th anniversary of the dedication of our church at 1b Perov Boulevard. This is another opportunity to thank God for his mercy to us Capuchins. With gratitude we will remember our wonderful history on this site. With gratitude, let us pray for our Capuchin brothers, the General Curia—the main sponsor of the construction—and our other Benefactors. (Photo)

May God hold His fatherly hand over us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 231

October 13, 2022

We are alive. God has given us another day. Yesterday Vinnytsia, where the Capuchins live, was most plagued by bomb and drones shellings from the occupying forces. God is merciful. There is no loss of life. In Kyiv, there were alarms at 5 am. We live and enter a new day with hope. Mykolaiv was seriously shelled. God give us peace.

The Word… Here is a gift of God’s Word: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ!” Grace and peace from God, let them become ours. In prayer, we abide in the heart of God, who brings us PEACE. God is love!!!

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

We greet all sister congregations (co-)founded by Blessed Honorat Koźmiński on their patronal feast. (photo)

Brothers invite to another “Marian Night of Vigil” under the patronage of Blessed Honorat Koźmiński. (photo)

Brother Sergei and Sister Svetlana invite children to a retreat at our monastery, to travel together to Emmaus to meet Jesus.
Thanks to our benefactors and the resourcefulness of Br. Stanislaw Manski, parish pastor, a new tabernacle was installed. (photo) Construction of a new Capuchin altarpiece is underway. Let us pray for our Brothers and Benefactors.

Funeral in Sharhorod. (photo) The young commander of the 2nd legendary battalion “Azov” was killed in Azovstal, Mariupol. He was a younger brother of Bogdan Kushnir, one of Vinnytsia Franciscan Youth, an ex-OFM. On the day of the funeral, Bogdan’s older brother became a father of a boy. Bogdan currently lives in Krakow, Poland, and is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order

There are prayer meetings in Dnipro. Catechesis for children. A night without explosions. We are giving out humanitarian aid. There was a break due to some explosions but now we continue. (photo)

May God protect us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 230

October 12, 2022

We are alive. The alarms that accompany us are again becoming the war norm. People no longer react as they did in the first days after the attack when many people died here in Kyiv. We are getting used to the alarms.

In the East and South regular war continues. More crime scenes of the occupying forces are being uncovered, mass graves of the murdered, mostly civilians. God, we ask you for peace in our hearts and for an end to the war.

The Word… Where did this nonsense, terrible war come from? The answer is below, in the Word: “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.” When will this war end, this war and other wars? “In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” All is clear now!?!? Thanks to the Word… Let us pray for conversion—ours and our enemies’. God is love.

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

Wednesday. A day of fraternity and sharing of the Word. (photo) We are back to helping the displaced. We receive finance help from our Benefactors, buy groceries, cleaning supply in stores, Kyiv wholesalers. (photo)

It’s been peaceful at our place. We are grateful to God for Adam’s health…. From the refectory window we watch the construction of new apartment blocks. They are growing like mushrooms after the rain—probably, among others, for violently displaced people who have nowhere else to return to. (photo)

War is war, but sharing the Word is a holy thing☝️. (photo)

Bombs rained down on Vinnytsia’s thermal power plant, not on the city itself. The brothers, thank God, are alive.  A story not directly related to the current war, but a war at heart, ended on a positive note: A Catholic priest who grew up at our Vinnytsia monastery found his father, who did not know he had a son at all. The video is in Russian. The story begins around 17 min:  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4UWpHhZHpYk

Warsaw, Poland:
Soccer game between Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid. We are pleased, regardless of the result. Tie 1:1 (photo)

May God protect us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 229

October 11, 2022

This night, after yesterday morning’s air raids, forced us to take up night duty. Together with the Nazareth Sisters, we were ready to receive people from their homes into our lower church-shelter. From the evening, a few people have stayed overnight. So far, at our place in Kyiv, there were no alarms and falling bombs.

TODAY! In Zaporizhzhya, the same as yesterday. Alarm in Kyiv and all of Ukraine, today from 8 am. In the church-shelter, young toddlers with small children. It’s 10.15 am right now and the alarm still continues.

Massive attacks throughout Ukraine in the morning hours. Alarm throughout the country. Locations of bomb shellings. (photo)

The Word… St. Paul’s word today is unequivocal: “Toward freedom Christ has set us free. Therefore abide in it and do not submit anew to the yoke of bondage!”. Man’s greatest bondage, which even Satan himself exploits, is FEAR of DEATH. That’s why so important is the truth that JESUS DIED. The first truth leads us into bondage, the second to freedom. “Alive is the word of God and effective, able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.” God is love.

Yesterday’s bombing of Kyiv. Metro functions only as a shelter. (photo) A bomb hit a kindergarten. A girl waited with her mother at the dentist’s. In the waiting room she painted a picture signed: me and Putin. Consequences of war. (photo)
Marian decoration in our church. “The rosary is our armor”. (photo)
Polish Ambassador Bartosz Cichocki visited us in Kyiv. As in the old “not-so-good” days—I walk to nearby underpass and bring people with children. (photo) There were a bunch of people there, they asked me to read the Our Father… In the underpass.

Photo from a funeral of one of our parishioners who died in the war. The liturgy was presided over by Br. Constantine M. (photo)
Brothers from Krasyliv and Starokostiantyniv came to Vinnytsia to celebrate the name day of Br. Igor. (photo) Brothers from Lviv similarly traveled to Uzhhorod. (photo)

Bohdan Shcherdyk 18.09.1995-15.09.2022. A common defender, a common grave. May he rest in peace! (photo)

I invite you to pray Psalm 91 about God’s providence, because, as we experience, there has been an intensification of hostilities. We are alive, about 10 explosions were heard, not far from us.

There were also explosions in Khmelnytskyi. In Krasyliv we only heard a missile fly over.

In Uzhhorod, despite the terror situation, we had a  long planned celebration of Roman and Mark’s name days with our closest neighbors in Custody, brothers from Lviv. (photo)

Solidarity Letters

From Croatia:

Dear Brother Błażej. Thanks for latest dramatic news from Ukraine. We follow with sadness and concern the latest news about yet another brutal attack on Ukraine. We do not know where this aggression ends; but we know for sure that God’s justice will reach everyone. Therefore, we constantly pray for peace, for freedom of Ukraine and all its people. To you, our Capuchin brothers, we express our closeness, our prayers and solidarity. We ask Almighty God to stop this malice and death that is affecting so many innocent people. God grant peace and security to the whole world, especially Ukraine. Discourage the evildoers from their evil intentions and deeds. Greetings to all!
Jure and the Capuchins of Croatia

From South Sudan:

Pax! Błażej, Dear Brother!
Yesterday, there was the ordination of Deacon William in Bentiu, and today the new Abuna had his mass of thanksgiving on the feast of Daniel Comboni, Apostle of this land. See how the girls of the choir from Mayom, his home parish, dressed up in color… (photo) PEACE TO YOU!
Robert Wieczorek

Thanks to all the brothers and our benefactors for your prayers and support. Thank you. We are alive.

The School of Mary invites you to a session of the School in the USA. (photo)

May God keep us safe.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 228

October 11, 2022

We are alive. There were air raid alerts in Kyiv yesterday and this morning. Almost all of Ukraine has been threatened by air raids. In Kyiv at 8.20 am, when we were at the Eucharist, explosions were heard on the right bank of the Dnieper River. There are civilian casualties. Explosions could be heard in Khmelnytskyi, Zhytomyr, in Lviv. There is no electricity in Lviv. Zaporizhzhya has been shelled today as well. We are waiting what will be the retaliation for the Kerch [Crimean] Bridge. No one asks anymore when the war will end. God, give us peace!

In our church in Vinnytsia. War, war is getting closer and closer. Funeral of one of our parishioners. https://fb.watch/g2IQF2790_/

The Word… War. Some areas of Ukraine are under occupation and the Word reminds us that “we are not children of slavery, but of the free. Toward freedom Christ has set us free. Therefore, abide in it and do not submit anew under the yoke of slavery!”

A Christian is a person called to freedom, even during war and occupation. This freedom depends on whom I listen to, to myself or to God. Beware of the war in our heads: “Do not harden your hearts today, but listen to the voice of the Lord.” God is love.

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

Sr. Malgorzata Stankiewicz, a Capuchin nun, spoke yesterday on Polish national television TVP in the program “Between Heaven and Earth” about the ministry to refugees in Krasyliv. She and the Capuchin friars are helping the displaced. (https://vod.tvp.pl/video/miedzy-ziemia-a-niebem,09102022,62834740 from 15 min 41 sec, in Polish)

The Lord’s Day is over, and the retreat has also ended. Here’s a report on this time of spiritual exercise and fun for the little ones. (photo) And this is a brief illustration of what our parishioners are doing for the Armed Forces of Ukraine… among others. (photo)

Celebrating St. Francis in the community of Secular Franciscans and Franciscan youth. (photo)

Election of a new Leader of the Maranatha community. Former leader defends Ukraine in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Jula became the new leader. May God bless you for your continued service in the parish and in the community. (photo)

May God guard us, bless us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 227

October 9, 2022

We have survived another wartime night. In Zaporizhzhia there were multiple shellings on civilian population. (photo) Let us offer gratitude, praise to God, for God is in Ukraine.

The Word… Healing, release, other gifts from God, are not an end in themselves. God heals so that we will know that God is in Israel. “Behold, I have become convinced that in all the earth there is no God except in Israel! ” I remind you that God did not leave Ukraine. God who is love loves Ukraine, loves me, loves you, loves us! God is love!!!

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

Staryi Ostropil:
Brother Leonid Kushniruk, regional assistant, at the meeting of the OFM Personal Community in Ostropol. (photo).

With the youth in the mountains, today (Saturday). (photo)

Scouts, in our Lviv garden, under the watchful eye of Br. Sergiy Voronyuk. (photo)

An excursion for refugees with catechesis. (photo) Cleaning behind the church and garage. (photo)

Krasyliv joined men’s rosary prayer, which was held in various cities of Poland and the world. Not too many of us but all with burning hearts. (Men and one little daughter came with her father). (photo)

May God protect us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 226

October 8, 2022

Deo gratias! We are alive. God has given us another day. We survived the night.

Something is happening on the Crimean Bridge!!! (photo)

The Word… Truth about us: “For all of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ.” To what dignity have I been called. Since Baptism I am great—I am a Christian into whom Jesus has clothed himself. “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it faithfully.” Let us begin again, from listening to love.

God is love! God loves you!

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

Once again the brothers invite to worship with Mary in downtown Lviv. (photo)

One of many destroyed houses. There are civilian casualties, innocent people. (photo)

The construction works are progressing. We pray for our Benefactors who financed these works for us, before the war. Symbolically, war does not frighten us. (photo)

Despite the war, new Christians are being born. Baptism in Uzhhorod. (photo)

Brother Kazimierz celebrated his 63rd birthday yesterday! Congratulations! (photo)
Election Chapter of the Secular Franciscan Order is being held in Staryi Ostropil. Present was the Spiritual Assistant of the Khmelnytskyi Region of the OFS, Brother Leonid Kushniruk.

And with us in Krasyliv “gray, quiet” life, as always. Some humanitarian aid was brought from Warsaw.

May God guard us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 225

October 7, 2022

God is merciful to us. We are alive. Just like yesterday, this night bombs fell on the city of Zaporizhzhya. There are casualties among the residents of the city, 90 km [56 miles] from Dnipro, where our brothers live.

Today in Ukraine, in the Church, we have a day of prayers for the end of the war and fasting on bread and water for this intention. You are invited.

The Word… In today’s Word, I am touched by the fact that Jesus, dying on the cross, allowed himself to become accursed in the eyes of the Jews.  “Cursed is everyone who was hanged on the tree—so that the blessing of Abraham may be shared by the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, and so that by faith we may receive the promised Spirit.” It is God’s love for me to receive the Spirit of Jesus, that is, to know the true God, present in my life, as in the life of Abraham.

God is love.

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

Another invitation to the Marian Night of Vigil, this time with St. Francis. (photo)

Br. Marek’s name day—may God protect and bless you. Best wishes. Live!!!

May God guard us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 224

October 6, 2022

We are alive. In other areas of Ukraine, people are dying, mostly civilians. In Zaporizhzhia, high-rise buildings have been ruined. There are people under the rubble. All this during last night. Kharkiv similarly. Odesa. Mykolaiv. Other smaller towns similarly. In some areas the Armed Forces of Ukraine are rubbing out the occupying army. God, grant us peace.

The Word… To be reasonable or not reasonable (foolish) With astonishment, St. Paul writes: “Oh, foolish Galatians….” No one wants to be foolish. What does it mean to be wise? The answer: “Open, Lord, our hearts, that we may listen attentively to the words of your Son.” Wise is the one who listens to the Word. God is love. God, give us peace.
I encourage everyone to pray in the spirit of today’s Gospel: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. ”

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

A few more photos of the Brothers and Benefactors, the youth. Let us pray for our … Benefactors and Brothers. (photo)

Today is Br. Igor’s (of Vinnytsia) birthday. Tomorrow is Br. Marek’s name day. Brothers, may God show you his true face and true love. God loves you too!!!

October 4. Eucharist. Renewal of vows. (photo)

Retreat house. (photo)

May God protect us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 223

October 5, 2022

A quiet night in Lviv. Attacked by kamikaze drones was the city of Bila Tserkva in the Kyiv region. We are alive. God has given a new day.

The Word… The word of today’s Gospel introduces us and gives us new realities with God, with the Father. We can call God Father, Daddy. Such relationships are given to us….
“You have received the Spirit of adoption for sons, in whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” Cry out don’t be afraid Father!!! God is love.

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

We celebrate St. Francis. Evening Eucharist presided by the Metropolitan, Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki. Franciscans of the city of Lviv were invited. (Photo) Meeting with the friendly Josephite sisters. (Photo) Yesterday there was a Ukraine-wide alert. (Photo)

Yesterday the Knights of the Order of Malta from Hungary (otherwise known to the brothers in Kyiv) brought humanitarian aid. The Center’s guys, who are elegantly dressed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, are helping. (photo)

May God grant us peace and guard us.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 222

October 4, 2022

I invite everyone reading this letter to thank God for St. Francis and his charism, in which we Capuchins, thank God, share. Deo gratias!

BROTHERS and GOOD FRIENDS !!!! Best wishes of peace and good!

The Word… “It pleased Him who chose me while I was still in my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach the Gospel of Him to the Gentiles. And they shall glorify God because of me.”

“O Lord, grant
that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love…”

God is love !!!!

We are living in a war, not living by war.

Yesterday, I visited the brothers in Vinnytsia. Praying together, fasting before the Feast of St. Francis. (photo)

In Starokostiatntyniv Transitus prayer. (photo)

In Krasyliv overnight stay and a short celebration of St. Francis with the Eucharist. God is Love.

In the evening, I received video wishes from our professor Br. Wiesio B. from International College of St. Lawrence of Rome. Thank you, especially for the wishes of peace in the spirit of St. Francis. (photo) Wiesio, brother, heartfelt thanks. And God willing, see you in Ukraine, already in peace and not in war. Greetings to all the Brothers at the College with its rector Br. Andrzej K.

Peace and Good.

Dear brothers! We are working on various fronts. I’m already returning to Dnipro after the end of a very fruitful retreat “Encounter with God” in Briukhovychi near Lviv. There were almost 50 of us, from Zaporizhzhia to Yavoriv. The atmosphere of joy and love was enough to transform lives, transform hearts. (photo)

Community Mass, October Rosary, and, well, Transitus. (photo) Well, and air raid alarms too…

May God bless us and may He guard us and grant us Peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 221

October 3, 2022

The Word… God is love, God who loves us, therefore we can love each other—that is—be happy: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” God is love.

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

The sklykania (meeting) of the Franciscan School of Evangelization in Staryi Ostropil has ended. (photo)

“LEOPOLIS SEMPER FIDELIS”. [lat. Lviv always faithful—SJP Communication]
Commemorative photo with Fr. Kazimierz Guzik OFMCap after Mass in the Cathedral Basilica in Lviv.  The Capuchins are back to Lviv!!! Fr. Hieronim Warachim OFMCap’s dream has come true.

Formation of leaders under the leadership of Br. Jerzy. (photo) A party for Jesus, after the prayer of adoration. Br. Zbyszek on a bicycle. (photo)

“Nazareth” School in the facilities of our pastoral center. (photo)

(No commentary, commentary unnecessary)

May God protect us and grant us peace.

Letter from Br. Błażej: Night 220

October 2, 2022

God has opened our eyes and praise be to Him for it. We are entering a new day. The Lord’s Day.

Yesterday in Kyiv, air raid alarms sounded. I see that brothers and people are used to alarms. We pray for the victory of ЗСУ (Armed Forces of Ukraine). God, give us peace!

The Word… “Lord increase our faith.” “That you may have faith, like a mustard seed…” Little faith, but faith in the GREAT GOD. The Great God, is the God close to us, for each of us. A great God, is a God who loves me as I am. Great God, God is love. Little faith, in the GREAT GOD.

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

“Ora et labora” in Franciscan style. (photo) Consultation and prayer meeting. Br. Jerzy, Mrs. Iryna, leaders. Women. Ukrainian women. Patriots—even in their outfits. (photo) The brothers do not stop praying. Another invitation to Pray with Mary for peace in Ukraine. (photo)

Knights of John Paul II with their chaplain Br. Slawomir. (photo) Course “Alpha”-Another meeting. (photo)

Elective chapter of the Secular Franciscan Order in the region. Brother Leonid, assistant of the region. (photo)

May God grant us peace and guard us.