When Pope Saint John Paul II travelled to Ukraine in the year 2001, he beatified 25 martyrs of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church who had given their lives under communism for their faith in Jesus Christ and their fidelity to the Church. Among the new blessed were a number of members of the Greek Catholic Order of Saint Basil who had died in the Soviet prisons and concentration camps, including one bishop of their order.
In the homily he gave at the time, Pope John Paul II remarked, “In a particular manner I would like to hold up to you the resplendent witness of these heroic martyrs of the Gospel. Remain faithful to Christ – just as they did – even unto death! If God is now blessing your country with abundant vocations, if the seminaries are now full – and this is a source of hope for your Church – then this is undoubtedly a fruit of their sacrifice.”
The Basilan Order in Ukraine has grown remarkably. At the time of the political upheavals in Eastern Europe, all that was left of the order was a single monastery, situated in Warsaw, Poland. During the Soviet era, when the Ukrainian Church could only live its faith underground, so the Brothers of the order were sent secretly to train for the priesthood in Poland. Today, in Ukraine itself, there are no fewer than 29 houses and 340 religious.
The order continues to be blessed with abundant vocations. At present there are 49 young men still undergoing their formation. This is a blessing and a joy, but at the same time a huge challenge for the superiors of the order, who are faced with having to provide for the training and upkeep of these young men against a background of soaring prices in Ukraine.
We have helped them for many years and intend to do so again this year; this time we have promised a contribution of $31,100.
Will you give to help fund the formation of these 49 young Basilan Brothers in Ukraine?
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