Snapshots from Ukraine

Ukrainian Oblates

Compiled by Mike Viola

Oblates Honored For Service to Victims of War

During a special meeting of the State Administration of the Kiev Military Administration, recognitions were presented to representatives of churches and religious associations involved in humanitarian aid to victims of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Oblate Father Pawel Wyszkowski, OMI, and Bro. Sebastian Jankowski, OMI, were honored for their heroic work during the war. Father Pawel is the pastor of St. Nicholas Church in Kiev and Bro. Sebastian is the director of  Kitchen for the Homeless, a ministry to people living on the streets of Kiev.

“I am pleased that the State Administration of Kiev noticed the activities of the parish of St. Nicholas during the Russian invasion,” said Fr. Pawel. “Yes, we stayed, we didn’t run away, we try to serve the best we can. We distribute and deliver humanitarian aid to those most in need, even when Kiev and Chernihiv regions are under fire.”

Brother Sebastian and his team of volunteers cook and distribute as many as 500 meals a day to people living on the streets in Kiev. He also works tirelessly to deliver gas cookers to people living in surrounding villages.

The war in Ukraine has had one unexpected positive effect on the Oblates’ ministry at St. Nicholas Parish. The church had been converted into a music hall when the Communists were in charge of Ukraine. When Communism fell, the Oblates were allowed to enter Ukraine and began using the building on a limited basis as the facility was still under the control of the owner of the music hall. When war broke out, the owner fled, and the Oblates now have complete freedom to use the church as they desire.

“The church is open, active and alive, always full of people in need of help and those who, despite being tired can help,” said Fr. Pawel. “This is yet another proof that the house of God must function as intended.”

Obuchow – a place where you can get help

Churches of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Ukraine have become asylums for the needy. War refugees have found shelter there and humanitarian aide campaigns are also carried out at the churches.

The Oblates minister in Obuchow, located in the Kiev region, continuously distributes aid that flows in from all over the world. A shipment of nearly 5 tons of aid arrived from the Oblates in Germany consisting of clothing, footwear, hygiene products, blankets, bedding and other everyday items.

Transforming Armor to Icons

            A unique exhibition is taking place at an Oblate parish in Ukraine.

The exhibit, “Spiritual Victory,” consists of 12 icons that were made of armor plates from Russian weapons. Some of the plates contained bullet holes. Artists from the Art Armor Project painted the icons with images of Christ and holy protective elements.

The exhibit opened at St. Nicholas Church on June 1, International Children’s Day in Ukraine. A prayer service was held at the opening of the exhibit for the children of Ukraine, particularly those who have been killed, injured or displaced.