02 Mar Help to Ukraine through our Friars
“I was able to speak to the Minister Provincial of Ukraine, Br Daniel Botvina, who informed me that the friars are well, especially in the friary of Konotop, a city already occupied by the Russians. They have remained there with the people, so as not to abandon them, and they are safe”. It is easy to imagine the state of mind with which Br Massimo Fusarelli, OFM General Minister, received the news of the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine. However, his letter, inspired by the principles of peace and hope, cannot fail to recall words that evoke anguish and pain. (Read the Minister General’s message)
Those very words allow us to imagine the dismay with which our confreres are living and working in this recent dramatic theatre of war. The words of Brother Romuald, parish priest of the friary of Konotop, describe in detail a scenario that no one thought possible until a few days ago. The streets of daily life have become a battlefield, civilian and military vehicles set on fire, numerous victims scattered throughout the city. And then the despair that settled in the hearts of the population at the realization that the city was no longer under the control of the Ukrainian army.
The parish immediately opened its doors to everyone. The friars responded to the people’s basic needs: a place to spend the night or receive a meal, but also the need for a word of comfort. Most of them are elderly people, women and children who have suddenly found war on the doorstep of their homes. Despite their efforts, our brothers are finding it increasingly challenging to provide food, medicine and the bare necessities for those who have left their homes. The number of people being cared for is increasing, and the friars need help.
The OFM General Curia, through the OFM Fraternitas Foundation, has taken immediate action to provide all possible support to the friars who are personally facing the drama of war.
Their presence is the comfort of a candle burning in the darkness, opposed to those feelings of hatred and despair that cannot take over.
I ask you to donate to support our brothers and sisters who are suffering in Ukraine. In the letter of the Minister Provincial of Ukraine, Br Daniel Botvina, you can find a further witness of the urgency with which we launch this appeal. Thank you.
Now more than ever, our Franciscan charism of bringing peace and goodness is revealed where there is unrest, darkness, war.
Children who come to our shelters play, watch cartoons and even forget that there is a war around. Some adults, maybe for the first time in their lives, take the rosary, pray on their knees, learn to sing religious songs and experience true peace that cannot be achieved through tanks or other weapons because we have and believe that peace that Jesus Christ left, Jn 14:27 “I leave you peace, I give you, my peace. Not as the world gives it, I give it to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor be afraid.”
Br Romuald OFM