“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Finish Accommodations for Pilgrims at the Shrine of Berdychiv in Ukraine
The image of Mary in Berdychiv’s Carmelite Monastery and Church is a shrine for Ukraine’s Catholics. The monastery and its attached church were originally built in 1630 by the family of a Polish nobleman, who also donated the image of Mary. Since then, it has drawn large numbers of Catholic faithful, who lay their cares and concerns at the feet of the Mother of God. One of the shrine’s most significant moments was its crowning by the local bishop in 1998, with a crown blessed by Pope John Paul II.
In the 20th century, the shrine suffered the same fate as so many of Ukraine’s holy places. The monastery shuttered under Soviet rule, and a community center that functioned as a boarding school, a homeless shelter, a hospital, and a publishing house was converted into a prison, a block of interrogation rooms, and a cinema. A music school and a sports hall were added later.
In 1989, the people of Berdychiv publicly demonstrated for the return of the monastery and its church to the Carmelite Order. Since the Carmelite Fathers had actively worked toward ecumenical reconciliation, the demonstrations were led by an Orthodox priest. Success came in 1991, when the discalced Carmelites were finally allowed to return.
They were then assigned the Herculean task of repairing and renovating their spaces so they could once again be used for their original purpose. To this day, that work continues. Though parts of the building still do not technically belong to the Order, a great deal has already been achieved, thanks in part to ACN’s prior contribution of $121,800. And in 2012, they were able to re-consecrate the Basilica in western Ukraine.
Once again, they have asked for our help, this time to refurbish their kitchen, dining rooms, and sanitary facilities, all of which are urgently needed to accommodate the many Catholic faithful who come to the shrine in pilgrimage or participate in church retreats. We hope to give them $49,800.
Will you help us restore this sacred space so that pilgrims to Ukraine can visit and pray at Mary’s feet?
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