Night 438-444 – Br. Błażej letters
Stories of Resilience and Faith: Ukrainians Endure the War
A Chronicle of Daily Struggles and Unyielding Hope in Ukraine, May 8-14, 2023
Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian people exemplify remarkable resilience and unwavering faith. From the relentless nights of war to the unwavering dedication of the Capuchin brothers providing essential ministry and support, these stories shed light on the transformative power of faith and the indomitable spirit of the Ukrainian people. As we explore their journeys, we witness their determination to rise above adversity, their unwavering hope for a just peace, and the profound influence of their faith in guiding them through the darkest times.
Night 438: Restless Days and Nights in the Shadow of Conflict
As the war in Ukraine reaches its 438th night, communities continue to endure restless days and nights. Despite the potential danger, Ukraine’s advanced anti-missile systems provide a measure of safety. The previous night we witnessed the successful interception of 35 kamikazes (Shahid) drones launched by Russian forces. However, debris from these destroyed drones caused damage in cities like Kyiv’s Sviatoshyn area and Vinnytsia, where alarms awakened residents. In Odesa, an air raid resulted in the tragic burning down of a recreation center. These incidents highlight the constant threat that Ukrainians face and the conflict’s disruptive nature.
Amidst the affliction and uncertainty, the people of Ukraine find solace in their unwavering faith and the power of the Word. They believe, “If God is with us, who can be against us?” This steadfast faith empowers them to persevere through the war’s hardships, oppression, and persecution. They unite in prayer, seeking a just peace and trusting that nothing can separate them from the love of Christ.
Night 439: Alarms, Destruction, and the Unyielding Spirit of Ukraine
On the 439th night of the war, the Ukrainian people experienced widespread unrest. Red alarms sounded throughout the country, indicating imminent danger. Ukrainian anti-missile systems successfully intercepted 23 of the 25 drones launched at night. However, the debris from these destroyed rockets caused further damage and fires, prompting Kyiv residents to seek shelter in metro stations. This relentless barrage of attacks highlights the ongoing challenges Ukrainians face as they strive for peace in their homeland.
Drawing inspiration from the biblical story of the Apostle Paul’s resilience amidst persecution, Ukrainians understand that God’s love allows suffering to strengthen their spirits. Therefore, they firmly believe that as long as they listen to God’s guidance and hold onto the message of peace imparted by Christ, they can endure the trials of war. As a result, the Ukrainian people refuse to be defined by the conflict; instead, they rise above it, embodying the spirit of their resilient nation.
Night 440: Hope Amidst Remembrance and Reconciliation
May 9th, a day of remembrance and reconciliation, holds a special significance for Ukrainians. However, it is not widely celebrated as a holiday in the country. Instead, the Ukrainian people use this occasion to reflect on the past and look toward a future free from the ravages of war.
In Clara Studio, Vinnytsia, people gathered to commemorate the day, paying homage to the sacrifices made to pursue freedom and peace. Despite their hardships, the Ukrainian people find strength in unity and strive to support one another. In Kyiv, the Fr. Pio House offers art therapy programs to help children, mothers, and women cope with the emotional toll of the conflict. Another day of evangelization in front of the Capuchin church in Vinnytsia, where the community came together to share their faith and spread hope.
The Capuchin brothers, continue to provide invaluable support throughout Ukraine. Brother Yaroslav Fedirchuk, Dnipro’s superior and parish priest, celebrated his name day, an occasion marked with joy and gratitude. Brother Kazimierz Guzik from Lviv shared a heartfelt video message, uplifting and inspiring the Ukrainian people in their struggle. Their tireless efforts and unwavering faith serve as a beacon of hope and resilience in adversity.
Night 441: Calm in Some Regions, Turmoil in Others
As the war enters its 441st night, the situation in Ukraine remains precarious. While some regions experience a relatively calmer night, others are plagued by continuous alarms and devastating attacks. In the Dnipropetrovsk Region, last night was relatively calm, providing a brief respite for its residents. However, the threat of shelling and missile raids loomed in Kyiv and the surrounding areas.
Despite the challenges, the Ukrainian people maintain their unwavering faith in the power of love and the importance of spiritual nourishment. They draw strength from the teachings of Jesus, who reminded his disciples to abide in his love and keep his commandments. This profound message resonates deeply with all people, guiding their actions and inspiring them to persevere through the darkest times.
Night 442: Celebrating Life and Seeking Inspiration
Amid the ongoing conflict, Ukrainians find solace in moments of celebration and inspiration. On this particular day, Br. Sergiy Vorniuk in Lviv celebrated his birthday, surrounded by well-wishes and heartfelt messages. The joyous occasion serves as a reminder of the importance of cherishing life’s blessings and finding moments of happiness amidst the turmoil.
The day also commemorates the life of St. Leopold Mandic, a Croatian Capuchin saint whose legacy resonates deeply with the Ukrainian people. The Ukrainians express their gratitude for the support and solidarity of the Capuchin brothers from Croatia, who themselves have experienced the ravages of war. Their enduring presence and shared experiences provide a source of inspiration and hope for the Ukrainian people.
Night 443: Nightmarish Reality of War and the Quest for Peace
Intense battles and destruction in Ukraine marked the previous night. Four Shahid drones were shot down in the Khmelnytskyi region, but unfortunately, four others hit strategic infrastructure, causing significant damage. This constant threat to critical resources highlights the ongoing challenges Ukrainians face as they strive for safety and stability.
These devastating incidents do not deter the Ukrainian people. They pray for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, yearning for a future where their land is liberated from Russian occupation. In the face of such adversity, they cling to their deep-rooted belief that justice and peace will prevail.
Night 444: Relentless Attacks and the Spirit of Ukraine
Yet another night of relentless attacks, with missiles raining down on multiple regions. The city of Ternopil and Nikolaev bear the brunt of the destruction as residential houses, schools, hospitals, and strategic facilities become targets. The scale of devastation is a painful reminder of the harsh realities of war that Ukrainians confront daily.
In the face of such adversity, the spirit of Ukraine remains unbroken. The Ukrainian people draw strength from their unwavering faith and resilience, refusing to be defined by the conflict that engulfs their land. Their enduring hope for a just peace drives them to endure and persevere despite their ongoing challenges.
Throughout these last seven nights, it is evident that the Ukrainian people live in war, but they refuse to live by war. Instead, they embrace faith, hope, and love as guiding principles in their lives. Their unwavering spirit, rooted in their deep connection to their faith and community, illuminates the path toward a better future for Ukraine.
As Ukraine continues its journey towards a just and lasting peace, the Ukrainian people draw strength from their faith, unity, and the unwavering support of their communities. Their stories testify to the human spirit’s ability to endure and find hope even in the most challenging circumstances. May their unwavering faith and resilience inspire the world and remind them that, even amidst conflict, love and hope can prevail.
Amidst the chaos, the Capuchin brothers serve as beacons of light and support, offering vital ministry and inspiring the Ukrainian people to persevere. Their unwavering dedication reflects the essence of their calling and strengthens the faith and resolve of those they serve.
From Br. Błażej letters nights 438-444
Edited by br. Igor De Bliquy
for the Capuchin Communication Office
Province of St. Joseph