Celebrating 25 Years of Mission: Fr. Pavlo Vyshkovskyi OMI’s Inspiring Journey


Originally Published on OMIWORLD.ORG

Click here to see the article en Español

This year, Fr. Pavlo VYSHKOVSKYI OMI, the pastor of St. Nicholas Church in Kyiv, celebrated a milestone: 25 years of priesthood. His journey from the Oblate Seminary in Obra to serving amidst the turmoil in Ukraine is a story of faith, perseverance, and hope.

From Seminary to Service: The Beginning
Fr. Pavlo’s journey began 25 years ago at the Oblate Seminary in Obra. As the first Missionary Oblate from Ukraine, he began a path defined by dedication and a deep sense of mission. Reflecting on his journey, he shared, “Obedience and the mission to proclaim the Good News to the poor have scattered us around the world.” While his fellow Oblates ventured to Canada and Rome, Fr. Pavlo stayed in Ukraine, driven by a commitment to his homeland.

Standing Strong Amidst Challenges
Despite the severe challenges posed by the ongoing conflict, the Missionary Oblates in Ukraine have shown incredible resilience. Fr. Pavlo expressed heartfelt gratitude to the OMI Congregation for their loving support. “Oblates and the people we work with around the world continuously pray for us,” he said. In the parishes of Chernihiv, Obukhiv, and Kyiv, Oblates provide essential support to those affected by the war, offering food and assistance to the homeless and impoverished.

Life in Wartime Kyiv
The situation in Ukraine remains dire. Recent bombings have damaged 75% of the country’s power plants, leading to frequent blackouts in Kyiv. Despite these hardships, Fr. Pavlo and his parish remain resilient. He spoke about the struggle to reclaim St. Nicholas Church from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, highlighting the community’s perseverance and faith. “We work, pray, and hold on thanks to your prayer and support. Thank you for supporting Ukraine and our parish,” he shared.

The situation in Ukraine remains dire

A Memorable Meeting with Pope Francis
A highlight of the anniversary celebration was meeting Pope Francis. This encounter marked Fr. Pavlo’s fifth meeting with the Pope, who expressed deep concern for Ukraine. “When my confrères introduced me, saying I was from Ukraine, the Pope’s face showed deep concern,” Fr. Pavlo recalled. Pope Francis’ words, “OMI’s are brave,” resonated deeply, affirming the courage and dedication of the Oblates.

A Pilgrimage of Faith
During their anniversary pilgrimage, the Oblates visited Mount Gargano and the Grotto of the Apparition of St. Archangel Michael. On June 1, 2024, they celebrated the Eucharist, where Fr. Pavlo prayed fervently for peace in Ukraine and the return of St. Nicholas Church. This pilgrimage was not only a spiritual journey but also a testament to their enduring hope and faith.

Fr. Pavlo’s story is a testament to the unwavering faith and dedication of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. His journey from Ukraine to Rome, his steadfast service amidst the war, and his heartfelt prayers for peace remind us of the profound impact of faith and solidarity. Through their mission, the Oblates demonstrate that even in the darkest times, the light of hope and compassion shines brightly.

Jubilarians celebrating in Rome: Antoni, Andrzej, Jaroslav and Pavlo