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.
These Carmelite sisters, who live in strict enclosure, never leave their convent, yet their prayer spans the whole world. The fact that young Carmelite Sisters are once again living in this convent is one of the most beautiful fruits of the Triumph of Mary‘s Immaculate Heart. In 1950, the Carmelites had been forcibly ejected from their convent and forced to work in factories.
The 35 religious Sisters of the Ukrainian Catholic eparchy (diocese) of Kiev perform an outstanding work of service. They belong to 6 different religious communities and are involved in a wide range of different activities. They prepare children for their First Holy Communion and First Confession, they lead Church choirs and attend to all the many needs of the local parish communities.
There is a small Catholic community living in Kizilorda in the southwest of Kazakhstan, a town with a population of some 270,000 people. Most of the local Catholics are people of German, Polish and Lithuanian extraction. For the past 10 years, they have been ministered to by a Catholic priest who travels regularly from the town of Shymkent, a little over 300 miles away.
“We will bow to no regime that refuses to bow to God.” In 1951, just a few hours after uttering these words to the Catholic faithful in Prague‘s St. Vitus Cathedral, Archbishop Josef Beran of Prague was abducted by the secret police and interned for the next 16 years. Thousands of priests and religious in what was then Czechoslovakia shared a similar fate and suffered in prisons and labor camps.