On the way to the Sobor: Day 2

August 24, 2015

After a good sleep at the “Kolehium” - the student and guest residence at the Ukrainian Catholic University - we woke up to Ukraine's Independence Day, August 24.

The residence director Fr. Yurij Kozlinski, arranged for us to have a quiet Divine Liturgy in the 2nd floor chapel. We were joined by the small community of Redemptorist Sisters that have a small “monastery” right in the same residence. (They had been praying 1st Hour and Matins well before the Liturgy was to begin). We were also joined by two members of the Emmaus community that also have a wing on one floor of the residence. (Emmaus originates from Jean Vanier's L'Arche and Faith and Light communities). We were also joined by Prof. Jeffrey Wills (not pictured, because he took the picture), who is a former Vice-Rector and Senator of the university and now resides in Lviv as he continues to help with the ongoing development of the university.

At the Divine Liturgy, a subtle but very moving request was passed on by a friend of the Sisters. It was a Liturgy Intention asking for prayer. It read "For the preservation of the life and health of Anatoly and Roman and all our soldiers in the ATO (Anti-terrorist operation)." This reminded us of the sobering reality that although the country celebrates Independence Day, there are forces that want to undermine and even destroy that independence. It also reminded us of the fact that every day in the eastern part of the country soldiers and sometimes civilians are dying every day and many more are being wounded. It begs the question why!? How many thousands have died and many more gravely wounded for life. Hundreds of thousands displaced never to return to their homes as they knew them. How the loss of basic liberties grows in occupied Crimea. Not to mention the threat to the relative 20-year peace in Europe that this unexpected Russian aggression signifies. In the mean time, how many may die today in the "ATO" zone.

After the Liturgy everyone went to the large Dining cafeteria for breakfast. Here we also met a priest and professor bidding from Austria. Cards and emails were exchanged. The day continued.

Watch this site for updates on the activity of the Winnipeg delegation to the 6th Session of the Patriarchal Sobor on "The v Vibrant Parish - The Place to Encounter the Living Christ" in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. 24-28 August 2015.

Fr. Michael Kwiatkowski

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