Celebration at the Ukrainian National Shrine – faith under bombardment

ONCE AGAIN, THE NATIONAL SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL, IN BERDYCHIV, UKRAINE, was a place of pilgrimage on Sunday July 17. The threat of bombardment has kept most pilgrims away this year, but nevertheless Ukrainian Latin Rite bishops, accompanied by special guest Archbishop Gintaras Grušas of Vilnius, Lithuania, met with some 1,000 faithful in the lower church of the sanctuary.

Archbishop Grušas celebrates mass at the Berdychiv shrine.

For a long time, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has supported the renovation of this beautiful basilica, as well as the monastery of the Carmelite Fathers, and many works have already been carried out on this historic site, founded in the 17th century, to repair the damage of the Soviet era. The lower church is part of a crypt, and the Carmelite Fathers opened it to use as a bomb shelter for the local population during the war. In this way, Our Lady continues to protect her children, both spiritually and physically.

Living the faith under the bombardments

Father Konstantyn Morozow, a Capuchin friar from Vinnytsia, wrote a short message to ACN. One of his parishioners lives near the town’s central square. On July 14, during a violent attack on the city, she recited the rosary in front of an image of Our Lady in her home. Suddenly, she said, she heard an inner voice asking her to leave the house immediately. Minutes later, missiles hit and damaged the square and surrounding buildings. His house was heavily damaged. The image of Notre-Dame, however, remained intact.

—Father Jurij Blazejewski

Martha J. Finley