The city of Odessa, in Ukraine, is resisting despite the fact that many people have fled for fear of bombing and that Russian troops will end up reaching the city center. An important part of the resistance is the church of the local Catholic bishop, Msgr. Stanislav Szyrokoradiuk.
Your assisting role there is much needed. One of his first priorities has been to get vulnerable children to safety. “We have organized a place 260 kilometers away that used to be only for children, but today it is a place for displaced people. Some children and young families with children are living there, and we take care of them.”
In this situation, priests have assumed functions that transcend those of shepherds of souls. “The presence of priests in churches is very important for the people. The priests celebrate holy masses, organize the prayers and strengthen the spirit. But, in addition, they distribute food packages and other essential items, including hot meals. The cellars under the churches remain open to all people seeking shelter”, informs Bishop Szyrokoradiuk.
“The city is united, a great unity reigns among believers, also ecumenically. The war has brought us together very much, not only Catholics, but also people of other faiths and cultures. Today we have a great unity in the city”, explains the bishop. For this reason, they consider that their presence there is essential to maintain the spirit and unity of all the Christians who are trying to resist.