Kyiv: Baptisms and Prayers Under Fire From the Russians

Polish Oblates Respond to Ukrainian Refugees

Originally Published on the website of the Polish Oblates

Everyday life of the Oblate parish in Kiev.March 15, 2022

Oblate missionaries in Kiev remained in the parish of St. Nicholas. Depending on the possibilities, they lead a “normal” parish life. Sometimes it is carried out remotely, when there is heavy shelling of the Ukrainian capital, when it is “safer” – the faithful come to the temple. They are praying, they are looking for support. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continues, the Eucharist is celebrated, and the sacraments are administered. Several times a week, the Oblates go to the Missionaries of Charity sisters. There they took refuge, among others the poor and homeless of Kiev.

Never before has the world prayed so hard for Ukraine

“When, for over two weeks, our new day begins with information about the next shelling, about the dead and the wounded, about the completely destroyed towns and villages, the only question is: When will this war end? Yet despite all the horrors of this bloodshed, there is hope! Never before has the whole world sympathized and prayed for Ukraine as much as now. Probably there are prayers for the conversion of Russia. Never before have Europe and the entire civilized world supported us on such a large scale” – wrote Fr. Paweł Wyszkowski, OMI, pastor of the Kiev parish.

“Every day adults and children come to the Kiev church to pray the rosary for peace. This faith touches the heart, it is a ray of hope in hopelessness. In our parish, the beams of hope are adults and children who come to the rosary every day to ask for an end to the war in Ukraine as soon as possible” – explains Father Wyszkowski.

Baptisms with the accompaniment of bombs

Irina is a young girl who helps at the front every day. She is aware that each day may be her last. The day before yesterday, she asked for Holy Communion. Her choice was conscious and thoughtful. The pastor of the Kiev parish admitted her to the community of the Catholic Church.

This is not the only such case. Sometimes people ask that a priest go to their home. Perhaps they are afraid or have no way of getting into the temple. Certainly, many are paralyzed by the sound of fighting and constant bombing. Father Wyszkowski went to the Kiev district near the Antonov factory. He baptized little Eve. Fire was heard outside the window. Were it not for the awareness of the war, this photo would be almost a fabulous memento of the most important day in a Christian’s life.

Baptism of little Ewa near the Antonov plant in Kiev

Every war has a beginning and an end

More images of a brutal fight against civilians are screaming from TV screens and on social media. The regular army of the occupant versus defenseless women, old men and children. The helplessness of the passive viewer remains on our side of the TV – we can help, support and pray. Decisions are chained in the soulless mind of a Kremlin man. However, the faith remains that the fate of the world is in God’s hands. This faith is more and more visible in the bent knees of the faithful of the Kiev Church and in so many temples and chapels around the world.

Every war has a beginning and an end, and we can’t wait to win this pointless and brutal fight as soon as possible. Many will die, many will be wounded, many will suffer bodily and psychological wounds for the rest of their days, but let us remember that no one will be able to destroy the life of God that we carry within us. In God, our beginning and our end, we are endowed with an immortal soul, He has promised us His faithful eternal joy and lasting happiness” – concludes Fr Paweł Wyszkowski, OMI.