Br. Błażej letters – Night 437
Amidst Conflict, Hope and Faith Persist in Ukraine
Date: May 8, 2023
As the conflict in Ukraine enters its 437th night, communities across the country continue to endure restless days and nights. Cities such as Vinnytsia, Kyiv, and Dnipro have experienced alarms and disturbances, with citizens praying for peace.
In these trying times, it is essential to emphasize the importance of spiritual guidance and the power of the Word. Focusing solely on material matters, such as “table service,” is insufficient. The twelve disciples recognized this, stating, “It is not right that we should neglect the Word of God, and serve tables.” This devotion to the Word led to its proliferation, as the number of disciples in Jerusalem grew significantly, and even a great number of the priests came to faith.
Recently, a particular passage has returned to the forefront of our minds, highlighting the importance of understanding the Word: “Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and this is enough for us.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Philip, I have been with you so long, and you have not yet come to know Me? He who sees Me also sees the Father.’” This passage serves as a powerful reminder that God the Father is love, and it is through love that we can find solace and hope. By seeking love and embodying it in our lives, we find that it is enough to sustain us.
In the midst of this ongoing conflict, the people of Ukraine refuse to let the war define them. They live in war, but they do not live by war. Instead, they choose to focus on their faith, love, and the power of the Word to guide them through these dark times.
Despite the ongoing war, the people of Ukraine refuse to let it define their lives. In Vinnytsia, children recently underwent a serious examination as they prepared for their first confession and Holy Communion. In Horodok Podilskyi, the chaplaincy school attended by Capuchin brothers held its fourth meeting. Zhytomyr witnessed its first Diocesan Children’s Day, with joyful laughter from children filling the air.
A year ago, tragedy struck a newlywed couple in Mariupol. Andriy, a soldier of the ZSU border service, was killed by Russian forces only three days after his wedding, and his wife Valeria was taken captive for over ten months. The story of their love will be passed down through generations.
Ukrainian soldiers pray not for the power to kill, but for the strength to defend their freedom and homeland. Young men like Vinnytsia resident and judo world cup champion Marat Kryzanskiy, 22, courageously serve in the national guard.
In Kherson, six firefighters lost their lives while carrying out relief work under Russian rocket fire. Their sacrifice, along with countless others, will not be forgotten.
The people of Ukraine remain steadfast in their faith and community. In Krasyliv, Brother Maciej Styburski leads a rosary prayer, bringing together people from around the world through the power of the internet. A week ago, Krasyliv’s School of Mary conducted “Oazis” in Wiener Neustadt, and just yesterday, the “Little Oasis” began at the Fr. Pio Retreat House, welcoming 95 children from across Ukraine.
In Lviv, the Capuchin brothers celebrated their first sacrament of marriage in their chapel, joining together two of their earliest benefactors.
Through these stories, it is evident that amidst the darkness of war, the light of faith, hope, and love endures in the hearts of the Ukrainian people.
Christ is risen! Христос Воскрес!