Stories of Resilience and Faith: July 18-23, 2023
July 18, 2023 Tuesday – 509 war night.
Amidst the ongoing conflict and war, life in Ukraine carries its share of trials and joys. On this ordinary Tuesday, the 509th war night brought no respite as 38 drones and rockets were thwarted by anti-missile systems. Tragically, cities like Odesa and Nikolaev faced rocket attacks, while the Kharkiv region saw a counterattack from the Russian army, resulting in casualties. The people yearn for peace, praying to end the hostilities and a just resolution to the conflict.
In a touching reminder, Moses’ childhood and youth story highlights God’s presence in seemingly ordinary events. Similarly, the lives of the people of Ukraine carry the same divine presence, even in mundane stories. “The heart of those who seek God will come alive,” and they find solace in knowing that God listens to the prayers of the poor and oppressed.
Life continues amidst the chaos, with glimpses of resilience and normalcy. In Vinnytsia, children gathered for a holiday meeting organized by “Caritas-Spes Vinnytsia,” providing a moment of joy and connection. Meanwhile, the Zaporizhzhya region saw a hopeful harvest, a symbol of sustenance even in trying times.
The spirit of unity and creativity thrives in Vinnytsia, with Clara Studio extending an invitation and the “School of Mary” holding its summer session. Such activities bring communities together, fostering hope for a better future.
Amidst the war, the Brothers of the Custody of Ukraine continue their work with devotion and dedication. Br. Zbigniew Sawchuk’s gathering of altar boys after the Eucharist in Lviv exemplifies the importance of faith and camaraderie. In Vinnytsia, Br. Igor Mularski’s efforts to install a statue of St. James signify a commitment to faith and its symbols.
July 19, 2023 Wednesday – 510 war night.
Ukraine continues to face the daunting reality of war, with the night skies ablaze with red from rocket attacks. Various regions, including Dnipro, Kyiv, Vinnytsia, and Khmelnytskyi, where Capuchin brothers reside, faced threats and danger. Among them, Odessa bore the brunt of the recent rocket raid.
Amid uncertainty, words of comfort and strength resonate. As Moses questioned his ability to lead, God’s response assured him, “I will be with you.” This message of empowerment extends to all, as God chooses the weak to make them strong.
Amid the chaos, stories of hope and normalcy emerge. Br. Kazimierz Guzik recounts a pilgrimage to Berdyczow, expressing gratitude for the journey’s success and the return of a church. Br. Konstantin Morozov reveals that Our Lady of Berdyczow is soon to be proclaimed the primary patroness of Ukraine in the Latin rite, instilling hope and faith.
The Capuchin brothers also share glimpses of their lives. Br. Vladislav Gmyrko celebrates a long-awaited road repair project near their residence, while Br. Leonid Kushniruk spends quality time with Krasilov’s children during their vacation. Br. Marek Lisowski commends the bravery of the Krasilov Academy children, who learn about the Church’s underground activities in their camp.
Despite the turmoil, the message remains unchanged – God is love. It is a reminder to live not solely by the war surrounding them but to cherish love, unity, and the simple joys of life.
Br. Blazej Suska bridges Vinnitsa and Walcz, sharing stories of brothers’ activities and experiences.
In these tumultuous times, the presence of God provides strength, hope, and solace, guiding the people of Ukraine through their darkest days.
July 20, 2023 Thursday – 511 war night.
Ukraine has no calm skies; the whole country is grappling with the impacts of conflict.
The chosen scripture from the Book of Exodus tells the story of Moses, a weak and fearful man, and the reassuring presence of God, who declares, “I am who I am.” This narrative reminds us of the comfort and strength we can find in God’s presence during challenging times.
Jesus’ message also provides solace to those burdened and afflicted, offering rest for weary souls. God’s love is the source of hope and support during war and hardship.
The images of destruction in Odesa, Nikolaev, and other regions are a stark reminder of the suffering endured by ordinary people. Civilian homes and buildings have been shelled, causing immense pain and hardship.
Amidst the chaos, there are also glimpses of gratitude and resilience. The children of Krasilov express their appreciation to the Capuchin Sisters and Brothers for their support during the holidays. Celebrations like Taras and Mariana’s joint birthday demonstrate the strength of community and faith in the face of adversity.
July 22, 2023. Saturday – 513 war night.
The unrest continues as missile and drone attacks persist, mainly targeting border regions. Let us pray to end the war and restore peace in Ukraine.
Today, on the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, her life serves as a powerful message from God to us. Despite her past sins, she embraced love and became a devoted evangelist, showing that sin is not a barrier to God’s forgiveness. Her response was love for love, experiencing God’s love, and sharing it with others.
In Odesa and the surrounding areas, the devastating impact of rocket attacks from the Black Sea is evident in the destruction of homes and grain stores.
In Krasilow, a parishioner and family doctor, Mr. Roman, shares his frontline experiences from the Bahmut area, shedding light on the challenges faced in the conflict.
The School of Mary commemorates its 25th anniversary on the Feast of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, giving thanks for Brother Peter Kurkevich, the founding father and longtime director of the School.
The Brothers of the Custody of Ukraine, including Br. Zbigniew Sawczuk and Br. Marek Lisowski, share glimpses of their daily lives, marking jubilees and fostering unity among their communities.
Throughout these turbulent times, the message remains constant – God is love. Let us hold on to this truth, finding solace and strength in God’s love as we navigate the challenges of war and seek a brighter future for Ukraine.
July 23, 2023. Sunday – 514 war night.
The night brings yet another barrage of rocket attacks on Odessa, with devastating consequences. The Orthodox cathedral is destroyed, and the toll of injuries and loss of life continues to rise. Amid such despair, the Word reminds us of the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, even when we are at a loss for words. The Spirit intercedes on our behalf, carrying our supplications to God.
The war continues to take its toll on Ukraine, with the reminder that it affects lives everywhere, not just in one specific region. The destruction, pain, and suffering are felt throughout the country, reminding us of the urgency to seek peace and end the conflict.
Amidst the turmoil, life continues, and the Brothers of the Custody of Ukraine celebrate significant events, like Br. Roma Lukaszewski’s 60th birthday in Walcz. These moments of joy and camaraderie provide respite in adversity.
In Kamianske, there is progress as a new asphalt road leads to the monastery and church, symbolizing hope and renewal. In Krasilow, Andrew Kinel finds solace in prayer at the church, a source of strength in troubled times.
Despite the challenges, the message remains resolute – God is love. It is this love that sustains and uplifts during the darkest hours. As we live amidst war, we must remember that love guides us, illuminating the path toward peace and healing.
From Br. Błażej letters
Edited by br. Igor De Bliquy
for the Capuchin Communication Office
Province of St. Joseph