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The priest never gives up. His enduring patience and willingness to serve don’t go unnoticed. And just maybe, after five or ten years, the little community buys some property and erects a “Lego” church — a small wooden pre-cut structure assembled from a church building “kit” from western Ukraine.

We encountered several such parish scenarios in a number of villages in Ukraine and each was unique, yet each one highlighted the determination, patience and service of the respective pastor.

There were other highlights of my pastoral visit that included activities at the Ukrainian Catholic University; meals with special needs communities; consecration of the seminary chapel in Kiev, funded by the generous gift of a CNEWA Canadian donor; visits with religious women — three of whom lived “underground” for much of their religious life; conversations with military chaplains; and discussions with many of the bishops who assembled in Ukraine for their synod.

Despite serious economic, political and religious challenges, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is strong and mission centered. In this sense, it offers us an example of how we can be a better church here at home. CNEWA is honored to offer support to this church and all of the CNEWA family is enriched by the prayer and ministry of our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

Please keep our Ukrainian family in your prayers. May Jesus, the Prince of Peace, reign in the hearts of all.

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