UKRAINE: Inspiring signs of hope, courage, and faith despite devastation

All over Ukraine, stories are emerging of Priests, Sisters and Lay people, standing strong, holding on to faith and expressing courage and hope in the face of the ongoing war in Ukraine. These testimonies are being shared first hand by ACN’s project partners on the ground in Ukraine.

Irina and Alexander from Gvozdava: Alexander received notice that he was to mobilize and report to the barracks in four hours. A close witness told ACN that with only four hours to say goodbye to each other, they decided to spend one of those hours with a priest, preparing for the sacrament of marriage.

Then they both went to confession, received Communion, and made their marriage covenant. At the end, sad but inwardly happy, Irina told Alexander: “Now you can go and defend your country.”

The Church at work: thousands of refugees have been staying on the grounds of the Leopolis/Bryukhovychi seminary. Many continue on the road to the border with Poland, but before reaching Poland they stop at the spiritual retreat center, which is on the grounds of the same seminary.

Amid much need and tension, the Church is there to help: Convoys of military trucks, black smoke from explosions, destroyed warehouses and anguish on the streets of the Diocese of Kiev-Zhytomyr. The situation gets more difficult every day. Supermarkets are empty. There is no bread or water. The auxiliary bishop of Zhytomyr, Aleksander Yazlovetskiy, busies himself sending food, personal hygiene products and medicine to Kiev. He even helps load the vehicles that will do the distribution.

Calling on divine help: Parishioners from a Carmelite parish in Hvizdava village in the Zhytomyr region took part in a procession for peace. Godly intervention is the only hope Ukrainians have after ruthless attacks during these days, resulting in many victims and lots of destruction.

Elderly people cannot flee but pray. These elderly women are too old, or too ill to be evacuated. They live in a home for the elderly run by nuns. Many of the volunteers and staff have left, but the nuns remained behind. These women are very grateful to the nuns and want to contribute during this time of conflict by praying for peace, in the hope that the war in their country will end soon.



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