Kyiv (Ukraine). On 24 February 2024, the 2nd anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing conflict, there were numerous initiatives throughout Europe to implore the gift of peace. The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of the Communities of Mother of God Preprovince (EEG) present in Odessa, Kyiv, and Lviv, lived this day with particular intensity, sustained by the prayer of the whole Institute.

Pope Francis, after the Angelus of 25 February, reminded of it and asked to prayer:

“Yesterday, February 24, we commemorated with sorrow the second anniversary of the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine. How many victims, wounded, destruction, anguish, tears in a period that is becoming terribly long and whose end is not yet visible! It is a war that is not only devastating that region of Europe, but unleashing a global wave of fear and hatred. As I renew my heartfelt affection for the tormented Ukrainian people and pray for all, especially the many innocent victims, I implore that we find the bit of humanity that allows us to create the conditions for a diplomatic solution in search of a just and lasting peace”.

The sisters of the FMA community of Kyiv participated in the prayer vigil organized in the Marian National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Berdychiv, by radio stations Radio Maria Ukraine and Radio Maria World Family, allowing thousands of listeners from more than 90 countries of the world to join the prayer of Berdychev.

The Rosary was prayed in several languages and Sister Nataliya Vakulishyna, FMA, led a mystery in English. Reflections on the Joyful Mysteries were prepared by listeners and volunteers who witnessed to their experience of faith in times of conflict.

Msgr. Oleksandr Yazlovetskyi, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, presided at Holy Mass after the Rosary. We prayed for peace in Ukraine, the end of the conflict, the healing of the wounded, the release of prisoners, as well as for the victims and the civilian population.

At the beginning of the celebration, Father Vitaly Kozak, Discalced Carmelite and custodian of the Shrine, addressed those present, recalling the first days of the outbreak of the conflict on a large scale:

“One thing that has changed in my life during these two years of war is that I am no longer a fool. I am aware that problems do not resolve themselves and war does not end by itself. I remember the first days when my brothers and I didn’t know what to do. Everyone wanted to help. I remember we used to organize buses with people, to go a little further, because we didn’t really know where to go. Somehow, in these two years this thing has remained with us; that nothing is resolved by itself and that we must want to help each other. Wanting to help the displaced, military personnel, and even those who think they don’t need help. It’s one thing to want it; it’s another to start doing it. Nothing solves itself. Today it is important to remember all those, thanks to whom we can be present at this Holy Mass, to pray and ask the Lord for the end of the war.”

In his homily, Bishop Oleksandr Yazlovetsky invited the faithful to be grateful to the Lord:

“Today, before the Holy Gifts, during Holy Mass, we want to thank this miraculous icon. What do Ukrainians thank God for today? Because God has been with us and has not left us. We wish to thank Mary for interceding in a special way for our people. Thank you because our refugees have found refuge in many countries, for the solidarity of many countries and the Catholic Church, which has been and still is in solidarity with us. And not only the Catholic Church, but also the Protestant and Orthodox Church, pray for our Country.

Thank you for the support of the prayer that continues until now, for the many miracles that the Lord is doing for so many of us. We must be grateful to have become more open to other people, to our soldiers, who gave their lives for us, and also to the day of peace that the Lord has already prepared. We simply do not know when peace will return.”

The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians continue their presence among the people bringing a small light in the darkness – a smile, a good word, closeness – and concrete support, counting on the generosity and solidarity of all. You can send contributions and offerings as indicated on the Web site of the FMA Institute, designating in the cause Emergency Ukraine.

Photos: Yelyzaveta Lisova


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