EUROPE/UKRAINE - The appeal of the Salesians: "We must pray, people need to feel the presence of God"

Saturday, 5 March 2022 wars   religious institutes   prayer   displaced persons  

Missioni don Bosco

Kiev (Agenzia Fides) - "These are difficult days, the war has deeply shaken our population. Many no longer have a home and there are endless queues to get basic necessities. Many people need to feel the support, the strength, the presence of God and also of their neighbor, of the world". This is how Father Maksym Ryabukha, a Salesian priest, director of the "Mary Help of Christians House" in Kiev, explains to Agenzia Fides, the drama of the Ukrainian capital besieged by the Russian army. The situation in Ukraine is becoming more and more alarming: fighting and bombing continues in different parts of the country. "In Kiev, Lviv, Zhytomyr, and in other cities", explains Father Maksym, "we are trying to create safe spaces for those who have taken refuge in our Salesian structures and to set up shelters in case of bombings". After the first days necessary for the organization, the religious have launched an emergency plan aimed at welcoming the greatest possible number of people in the Salesian houses that can be accessed: "In particular in Lviv - reports the missionary - the Salesian house that until four days ago housed 70 children, today it can give hospitality to 300 people. Our action aims to provide them with a decent and peaceful place to stay, food and spiritual and psychological help. Since this war began - continues Fr. Ryabukha – we have never stopped celebrating masses. We also broadcast them online, through social networks. But we have never stopped visiting families either".
In conclusion, Father Maksym launches a heartfelt appeal for peace: "It is important not to stop praying now: this is the moment when prayer is our strongest weapon. We must believe in peace, invoke it in all possible ways and teach our young people who are experiencing the horror of war, the value of life". (ES-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 5/3/2022)