"Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."
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.
Catholics are a minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina – barely 14%, and declining. During the Bosnian war, from 1992 to 1995, half the Catholic population was expelled or forced to emigrate. Even today many Catholics are leaving the country because they can see little future for themselves, owing to the discrimination they face in seeking employment, in the schools and in social life.
For 20 years now, the Dominican Sisters in Docordò, Colombia, have been trying to help young people. Through educational work and intensive personal accompaniment, they try to keep young people from falling into the clutches of the armed gangs, who are very prevalent and active in the region. Many of these young people are suffering and exploited, often lacking love and hope in their lives.
Benin is a complex and varied African country. While in the north, the population is overwhelmingly Muslim, with Christians making up only a small minority, in the south, the population consists mainly of Christians and members of traditional African pagan religions.