Nights 520-528 – Br. Błażej letters
A Cry for Peace: Reflections from the War Front in Ukraine
A Difficult Night (July 31, 2023)
Ukraine endured a harrowing night with rocket shelling in Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia region, Dnipropetrovsk, Kryvyi Rih, and Kherson, leading to civilian casualties and the destruction of houses. The events in Sumy further intensified the situation, with the latest attack claiming two lives and injuring twenty.
Amid the ongoing unrest, the spiritual leaders sought strength and solace in faith. Various retreats and activities were organized from Aleksandrivka to Kyiv, the Carpathian Mountains, and Lviv; Ukrainians live in war but not by war.
Alarms and Aerial Attacks (August 2, 2023)
The Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and surrounding regions witnessed as many as four alarms, with Russian drones taking to the sky. Anti-missile systems proved effective, as 23 drones were shot down.
A poignant reflection was drawn between the Warsaw Uprising and the Ukrainian War. Tales from the front line, such as those shared by a doctor from Krasyliv, encapsulate the relentless hardships soldiers and medics face.
The day also marked an international moment with the beginning of World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, attended by a group of young Ukrainians.
Night Shelling and a Plea for Love (June 4, 2023)
The night brought destruction to Kherson as Russian drones targeted a school, a hospital building, and a marketplace. In the midst of these atrocities, the faith community continued to affirm the love and truth of God’s word.
Memories from Uzhhorod captured the nation’s heart, as the Funeral Mass of a young priest, Fr. Vladislav, was held.
Pope Francis’s meeting with a young girl, Varia, in Lisbon symbolized a connection between the pope and the Ukrainian people’s plight.
A Succession of Alerts (August 6, 2023)
Russian terrorism continued to disrupt peace and tranquility in Ukraine, with intensified attacks in regions including Khmelnytskyi and Starokonstantyniv. More than 30 rockets and 27 kamikaze drones were destroyed.
Reflections from Lviv and Kharkiv emphasized the need for transformation, a ‘Transfiguration’, to find hope in faith and love.
A heart-warming solidarity emerged as the Ukrainian anthem was played in Africa and Walcz, Poland, uniting people across continents. First Lady Mrs. Agata Duda met with Ukrainian youth in Lisbon, and the emblem of Ukraine, the Tryzub, was raised on the monument, Batkivshchyna – Maty.
The Brothers of the Custody of Ukraine and the people on the ground continue to bear witness to a nation in turmoil yet resilient, relying on faith, love, and solidarity. Their messages echo a universal cry for justice, unity, and peace.
God is love, and this love fuels the Ukrainian spirit in its most trying times.
Edited by br. Igor De Bliquy
for the Capuchin Communication Office
Province of St. Joseph