“Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Support Annual Ecumenical Youth Meetings at the Marian Shrine of Bilshivtsi in Ukraine
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Ukraine was plagued by war, corruption, economic crisis, and a lack of opportunity, which pushed many younger, more educated people out of the country. The pandemic has only made matters worse.
To prepare Ukraine for a more positive future, the young must be strengthened. Many young people who have lost their spiritual bearings are genuinely searching for God.
To help them, the Franciscan Fathers organize an annual youth meeting, now in its 19th year, at the famous Marian shrine of Bilshivtsi in West Ukraine. The shrine, with its image of the Mother of God, dates back to the year 1624; the church was desecrated and shut during Soviet times, but in 2001, they were open once again. Today it is a destination for many pilgrims.
This year, the youth meeting will run from July 11-14. The gathering will begin with a pilgrimage from six different towns and cities; participants will sing and pray together, before converging on Bilshivtsi.
Prayers, religious instruction, and Holy Mass will all be part of the program, as will theater performances, films, and social events. There will also be opportunities for confession, spiritual counsel, and accompaniment, and the gathering will be open to everyone, not only to Catholic youth in Ukraine. This year, the meeting will center on the themes of reconciliation and forgiveness.
The Franciscans have asked for our help in improving their technical equipment, especially the sound system and loudspeakers, and in providing for participants in the meeting. We have promised them $6,100.
Will you support this Marian pilgrimage for the young people of Ukraine?
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