When they toppled the great statue of Lenin in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, some people were worried that it might fall too heavily and by its sheer weight smash through the ground beneath which the underground train line ran. But when the statue was instead broken up into several pieces, the real truth came to light: the statue was hollow, just as hollow as all the promises of Communism. Today the place where the statue once stood is screened off with tarpaulins on which an icon of the Mother of God is painted.
Many people in Ukraine feel a sense of inner emptiness. They are still searching for God. It is the unanimous testimony of bishops, priests and religious in the country that the yearning for God is growing ever greater and that people are longing for genuine catechesis and pastoral care.
What is also important, however, is the presence of a proper house of God, a church building that inspires trust and encourages people to come and share in the Liturgy. For when the Liturgy is celebrated in private homes or simple huts – as is still the case today in many places, owing to the shortage of churches – many people are put off, fearing it must be some kind of strange sect.
Lyubotyn is a small town not far from Kharkiv. It is here that a church is being built for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic community. Up to now the liturgies have been held in a tiny chapel that was quite simply bursting at the seams. ACN has already helped twice before in previous years (once with 19,000 Euros and again with 25,999 Euros). Now we are helping one more time, with 25,000 Euros, so that the work can finally be completed. The parish priest, Father Ihor Tabaka has promised us that the families of his parish will take it in turns, each praying the Rosary for a full week for all our generous benefactors.