Project of the Week – Ukraine

Help for the training of future priests

The Greek Catholic Order of Saint Basil in Ukraine certainly cannot complain about a lack of vocations. Currently there are 48 novices in training at the seminary in Lviv. In all, the Basilian Order has some 340 members in 29 different monasteries. Their novice house is in Kharkhiv, in East Ukraine, and has its own land and livestock around it.

When one considers that the Catholic faithful were still being persecuted during Soviet times and were only able to live their faith in secret, this recent expansion seems almost miraculous. After all, the collapse of communism was only 30 years ago… During communist times, the members of the order were trained in Poland and then, they had to live their vocation underground.

In 2001, during his visit to Ukraine, Pope Saint John Paul II beatified 25 martyrs of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church who had given their lives in witness to their faith in Jesus Christ and their loyalty to the Church. Among the new Blessed were four members of the Basilian Order who had died in the Soviet camps and prisons, including one bishop belonging to the order. Their sacrifice has borne rich fruit – as the wealth of new vocations testifies.

Nonetheless, the large number of young novices still in training also poses a serious challenge for the order. The rector of the seminary of Saint Basil in Lviv has therefore turned to us once again this year for financial help, since prices are rising in Ukraine and the order has to find money to pay for electricity, gas, food, medicines, clothing and all the daily needs of the novices – which also include the salaries of the seminary teaching staff. In addition to the 48 seminarians of the Order of Saint Basil there are four young Redemptorist novices also undergoing training at the seminary, though not living there, since they continue to live in their own monastery. Altogether, we are helping with 46 800 dollars.

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