Stories of Resilience and Faith: Ukrainians Endure the War
June 19, 2023 – Vinnitsa – In the midst of the ongoing war in Ukraine, life goes on for its citizens. Despite the rocket fire from the Black Sea in the eastern regions, Vinnitsa remains relatively calm. The people of Ukraine are yearning for a just peace and an end to the conflict.
Amidst the chaos, moments of inspiration and hope emerge. Recently, four soldiers from the national guard were honored with medals for their bravery.
Khmelnitsky – The “Train to Victory” arrived in Khmelnitsky, bringing displaced persons from the sunken areas of Kherson. The arrival of these individuals serves as a reminder of the impact the war has had on innocent lives, displacing families and communities.
Italy/Belarus – Br. Francesco, a Capuchin friar, was consecrated as a diocesan bishop in Italy. Witnessing this special moment was Br. Sergej, the custos from Belarus.
Rivne – The celebration of St. Anthony of Padua was marked by a special event in Rivne. A commemorative plaque was unveiled and dedicated to Fr. Seraphim Kashuba, who served as the pastor of the church dedicated to the Nativity of the Mother of God and St. Anthony of Padua from 1945 until its closure by communist authorities in 1958. The ceremony honored Fr. Seraphim’s unwavering commitment to his parishioners and the enduring faith of the community.
Father’s Day – Ukraine celebrated Father’s Day, a day dedicated to honoring fathers and father figures.
Krasilow – Another successful “School of Mary” session concluded in Krasilow. Participants expressed gratitude for the positive impact of the “School,” a testament to the power of faith and community in challenging times.
June 20, 2023 – The night brought unrest and destruction as the war in Ukraine escalated. Cities across the country were targeted, leaving a trail of devastation. Infrastructure facilities in Lviv were hit by rockets, causing fires, but no human casualties were reported. The Sumy region suffered significant damage during this fateful night, adding to the toll of the ongoing conflict. The people of Ukraine yearn for a just peace amid the chaos and destruction.
Amidst the darkness, a Word of hope resonates. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is emphasized, highlighting his selflessness and sacrifice to enrich humanity. The Sermon on the Mount is being read in churches, reminding the faithful to love their neighbors and even their enemies and to pray for those who persecute them. This message holds particular significance for the war-torn nation of Ukraine.
Lviv – Another successful Franciscan biblical retreat has concluded, with gratitude expressed for its impact. Participants were reminded of the importance of faith and were grateful for the opportunity to gather and learn together.
Starokonstantinov – Support and promotion of Radio Maryja were carried out in the local parish, highlighting the power of communication and community during troubled times.
Kyiv – The Christian Relief Service has prepared a group of 45 individuals dedicated to helping the victims of the war. Their compassionate efforts provide much-needed support to those affected by the conflict.
Ostropol – Youth from Starokonstantinov visited the Franciscan School of Evangelization in Ostropol. This exchange of experiences and knowledge among young people fosters unity and resilience in the face of adversity.
In their reports, the brothers share their experiences and activities:
Br. Sergey Voronyuk, Lviv – The fifth Franciscan Bible Retreat on faith took place in Lviv, bringing together 19 participants. This series of retreats, made possible by the generosity of benefactors from Austria, has been a transformative journey for the young attendees.
Br. Maciej Styburski, Krasilow – A trip to Kamieniec Podolski and Chocim was organized for the children of the First Communion, accompanied by Sr. Alexandra. The excursion included visits to museums, Mass in the cathedral, and a meeting with Bishop Leon.
The School of Mary in Krasilow concluded another session, welcoming numerous participants from grades 4 to 6. The School continues to nurture the faith and spirituality of young minds, leaving a positive impact on their lives.
June 21, 2023 – The night brought unrest and fear as alarms, drones, and rockets disrupted the peace in Vinnitsa and Lviv. The people of Ukraine continue to pray for a just peace amidst the ongoing conflict that plagues their daily lives.
In times of turmoil, the Word offers solace and guidance. The message emphasizes the significance of generosity and joy in giving, encouraging individuals to follow their hearts without coercion or regret. Psalm 112 reinforces the blessings that come to those who serve the Lord and find joy in His commandments. The “Sermon on the Mount” teachings are seen as a path toward true Christianity that leads to peace and fulfillment.
Amidst the war, Ukraine faces challenges with its infrastructure. The poor state of power grids and excessive power consumption has led to planned power cuts in various cities, similar to those experienced during the winter months.
Khmelnitsky – Brother Leonid Kushniruk, the regional assistant of the Secular Franciscan Order, continues to teach online, emphasizing the importance of education and connection during these difficult times.
Donetsk Region – Four children were evacuated from areas heavily impacted by the war. The evacuation process was marked by careful preparation and ended with relief and gratitude.
Lviv – The feast of St. Brother Albert, the founder of the Albertine Sisters, was celebrated in unity with the Capuchins, Paulists, and Albertines. The chapel became a place of reverence and commemoration.
Br. Zbigniew Sawchuk, Lviv – An invitation is extended to a Marian night of vigil, a moment of prayer and reflection amidst the challenges of war.
June 22, 2023 – The war night brought tragedy and loss as the conflict in Ukraine rages on. Surviving the night is a bitter reality for many, but not for all. The death toll continues to rise, claiming lives on the frontlines and in the safety of people’s apartments. In a devastating incident in Kyiv, a rocket struck a 16-story skyscraper near our brothers’ residence. Several floors were destroyed, leading to a rescue operation to search for survivors in the collapsed section of the building.
The Word offers solace and guidance during these tumultuous times. The prayer of Our Father is recited, emphasizing forgiveness and the importance of extending forgiveness to others. The faithful are reminded of the reciprocal nature of forgiveness, where they will receive forgiveness from their Heavenly Father if they forgive others. The plea for forgiveness echoes through the prayers of those affected by the war.
Croatia – Br. Jure Sarcevic expresses concern for the well-being of Br. Blazej and his brothers in Ukraine. Prayers for peace are offered daily, hoping for an end to the brutal aggression and the arrival of lasting peace.
Kyiv – Fr. Pio House engages in art therapy with children and parents, providing a creative outlet amidst the chaos of war.
Krakow – Seminarian brothers from Krakow, including Br. Mykola Shyra from the Custody of Ukraine, gather in solidarity, strengthening the bonds of brotherhood.
A war prank in the form of war makeup is shared, but the reality remains grim. As many as 11,000 women have been drafted for the war, highlighting the widespread impact and the need for prayers for peace.
Capuchins of Ukraine – A new website is launched, providing a platform for information and communication. Visitors are welcome to explore and engage with the site. https://kap.org.ua
Br. Zbigniew Sawczuk, Lviv/Stradcz – Stations of the Cross are conducted to end the war, a powerful expression of faith and hope amid adversity. Stradcz’s location holds historical significance as 24 Poles were executed during World War II.
In tragedy and loss, the belief that God is love continues to anchor the people of Ukraine. The resilience and strength displayed by the Ukrainian people and the support and prayers offered by individuals from around the world serve as a beacon of hope in the face of darkness.
June 23, 2023 – The war night brought immense challenges as alarms sounded from the west, starting from Lviv and spanning through Starokonstantinov, Vinnitsa, Kyiv, all the way to the Dnieper and the east of Ukraine. The echoes of war reverberate throughout the nation, causing unrest and fear among its people. In the face of such adversity, the people of Ukraine pray earnestly for a just and lasting peace.
Jubilarian – Brother Kazimierz Guzik expresses gratitude to God for 32 years of priesthood, commemorating the anniversary of his ordination on June 22, 1991.
Volunteers – Joanna and Ariel, known as “angels,” visit again, bringing hope and support to those in need. Their kindness and dedication are celebrated as a reminder of the goodness found in people.
Zaporozhye – Concerns arise about the potential threat of terrorists targeting Zaporizhia’s dam and nuclear power plant on the Dnieper River. Bishop Jan Soblova of Zaporozhye calls for prayers and fasting in response to this alarming possibility.
Kyiv – Disturbing news arrives from Mrs. Luda, a Kyiv parishioner, who shares the heartbreaking disappearance of her husband, Sergei. The uncertainty surrounding his whereabouts weighs heavily on their family, and prayers are requested for their well-being and reunion. The intercession of St. Padre Pio is sought in these trying times.
June 25, 2023 – The night brings a relatively peaceful respite, with attention turning towards Russia and the cities of Voronezh, Bielgorod, and Moscow. The people of Ukraine continue to pray fervently for peace to prevail in the midst of ongoing tensions.
The Word inspires a new song of praise, acknowledging the Lord’s deliverance of the poor from the hands of evildoers. Reflecting on the question of who the greatest enemy is, the answer lies in the teachings of Jesus, reminding us not to fear those who can harm the body but rather to fear God, who has control over the soul and body.
Amidst the war, life goes on, and glimpses of hope emerge:
Kiev – The Padre Pio House initiates the “Give Mothers Hope” project, offering support and encouragement to mothers in need. This endeavor aims to provide hope and a sense of community during challenging times.
Br. Sergey Gubitsky, Starokonstantinov – A retreat for children concludes, providing them with a meaningful and transformative experience.
Br. Leonid Kushniruk, Krasilow/Kremenchuk – The renovation project for the pigsty is underway, and the first set of ducklings has been acquired. The happiness derived from these simple steps toward progress is cherished.
Br. Leonid Kushniruk, Krasilow/Zakarpat – Houses in Seredniom are dedicated and opened to provide shelter for Volodya, Oksana, and their children who fled Pionersk due to the war. The event witnesses the presence of foreign organizations, including representatives from the Czech “Charity,” the Consul of the Slovak Republic, and the advisor to the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Mr. Eduard Burasz. The consecration is conducted by Bishop Mykola Luczok Mukacheva, with the unwavering support of Br. Leonid Kushniruk. Local authorities and the Chairman of the Transcarpathian region also participate in the ceremony, demonstrating solidarity and support.
As hope for peace persists, the people of Ukraine continue to navigate the challenges of war with resilience and unwavering faith. They strive for a brighter future through acts of kindness, community projects, and prayerful support.
From Br. Błażej letters nights 480-486
Edited by br. Igor De Bliquy
for the Capuchin Communication Office
Province of St. Joseph