JOURNEY WITH ACN is our weekly newsletter regularly posted to our website and designed to acquaint you with the needs of the Catholic Church around the world and introducing you to various projects we have helped to bring into being together with our partners and ACN benefactors.
This week: Ukraine
Help for the renovation of the chapel of the Brothers of Saint Albert in Zaporyzhya
Auxiliary Bishop Msgr Jan Sobilo of the Latin-rite Catholic diocese of Kharkiv-Zaporyzhya comes originally from Poland. As a young priest, he had actually intended to stay for just a year in Ukraine in order to help out. That year has now turned into almost a quarter of a century.
Particularly close to Bishop Sobila’s heart are those people living on the fringes of society – the drug addicts and alcoholics. He has understood that it is not enough to simply help these people with a piece of bread, a bowl of soup and a little extra clothing. Instead they need spiritual and psychological support and counselling in order to help them break with their addiction. “So many of these young people used to come to our soup kitchen, and yet too many of them still come to an untimely end”, the bishop says. If they can only break with their drug addiction and find their way to God, then wonderful things can happen, he explains. So it was that Bishop Sobila was able to ordain a former drug addict to the priesthood. Today this man is responsible for the youth apostolate in the diocese.
In Zaporyzhya there are two Albertine Brothers who care for the poor and homeless. Close to the cathedral they run a soup kitchen, to which more and more people are flocking, who cannot afford even one hot meal a day. Many are homeless; others are pensioners who, given their meagre pensions and the constantly rising prices, simply cannot make ends meet. The brothers also shelter some of the homeless in their own house. Many of these men, who have been living out on the streets for a long time, have health problems, especially with their legs and feet. They also need to address many different personal issues before they can find their way back to living a normal disciplined life in society. The Brothers of Saint Albert help them in this. They also offer the men the opportunity to learn the baker’s trade and at the same time, under expert guidance, to produce tasty and appealing bread. Often it is the case, once the initial external problems have been resolved, that the inner fears and pains now come to light. It is here that a great deal pastoral help and counsel are needed. And yet at the same time the brothers are often astonished at the abilities and even the human depths of these men who come to them for help. For example Leon, a young man staying with them, who has proved to be a gifted painter of religious images. It may even be that he has a vocation to the religious life.
The Brothers of Saint Albert are currently in the process of renovating their monastery. And the heart of this monastery is their chapel.
We are giving $6,000 towards the cost of renovating it – would you like to help with this or similar projects?