Konotop (Agenzia Fides) - "In the midst of suffering, hardship, war, we, Franciscan friars of the Province of St. Michael the Archangel, continue to serve the poorest and most suffering people in the city of Konotop with a population of 80,000 inhabitants and its surroundings", says in a message sent to Fides Friar Romualdo Zagurskyi OFM, friar minor in the city of Konotop, in northwestern Ukraine.
"Our day - he observes - begins with the reception of the people who have entrusted themselves to us in the refuge of the basement of the convent. Then, with the volunteers, we queue for hours at pharmacies to buy medicine, and at grocery stores to buy bread and milk, receiving dozens of requests for help, despite reports of possible bombings".
"It is a service of support and compassion - says the friar – for those in need. Despite the difficult psychological situation, the limited physical and material capacities, we feel God's Providence like never before", especially in the search and distribution of food, hygiene products, clothing and medicines, which have saved lives. It is a miracle to see that it has never happened that we have never been without anything to help the people who come to us, also the refugees".
In also offering support and spiritual comfort, "we have started giving people not only food and medicine, but also rosaries. They are all accepted with a love and faith that inspire and move us".
In the midst of difficulties and when we expose ourselves to risks, "as faithful of the Parish of Our Lady of Fatima we always feel the special protection of the Virgin. Since it was precisely at Fatima that Mary asked us to pray for Russia, we all feel responsible for the lack of such prayer in the world and we reap the bitter fruits of it. Instead, we experience the special care of the Mother of God for our city, because almost all of our parishioners are involved in various ways in serving others: feeding the poor, welcoming the homeless, sharing food, comforting those who are in despair. None of us have despaired and I personally consider that it is an extraordinary protection on the part of Mary".
The Franciscan concludes: "While the war is in progress, we will continue to repeat the words of the biblical character Job (Job 2:10) 'If we accept God's good, why shouldn't we accept evil?' And let us hope that, like Job, great righteous man, the Lord will grant us even more graces than we already received before this war".
"I would like to add that we from Konotop feel the support of people around the world and their prayers. We experience the deep joy and solidarity of people of good will and I express unspeakable gratitude to all those who pray, fast, send help in many ways because they care about the fate of Ukraine". (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 4/3/2022)