Thanks in large degree to the heroic efforts of Saint John Paul II, the Berlin Wall came down and Communism no longer rules Eastern Europe. Yet, even today many Churches in the former Soviet territory need our vital pastoral and humanitarian support.
This ongoing need is mostly in Ukraine (home today to almost 5 million Ukrainian Greek-Catholics), where the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church was outlawed and virtually eradicated by Communist authorities, along with the Catholic Churches of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia.
Thank you for your support in helping this region keep the faith alive.
Wonderfully, the Greek Catholic Order of Saint Basil in Ukraine is not short of vocations. Currently there are 48 novices in formation 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.
The Poor Clare Sisters in Brestovsko in Bosnia and Herzegovina are young, with an average age of 41. Only one of them is over 60, and the two youngest are just 24 and 26. The convent was founded in 1989, immediately after the collapse of communism in the country, at a time when the old Yugoslavia still existed. Four religious Sisters came from Split, now part of Croatia, to establish a new convent in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Church in the Czech Republic may now be free, but a majority of the population have grown up in atheism and are far from the faith. At the same time, there are more and more young families who are discovering the faith, and more and more young adults seeking baptism. Good priests are urgently needed to help the people find their way to God, who for many generations under communism was denied to them or torn from their hearts.
In October this year, the Church will once again commemorate two great figures of the Carmelite life, both of whom have been named as Doctors of the Church. On the 15th of the month, Saint Teresa of Avila, the foundress of order of the Discalced Carmelites will be remembered, and on October 1, Saint Therese of Lisieux, who was only 24 when she died, but whose ‘Little Way’ to this day inspires countless thousands of people all over the world to live in complete and loving trust in God.