“He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk 4:18-19)
Between April 3 and 10, 2016, the Fathers of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul, along with the UGCC Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent, held parish missions in Tiachiv, Zakarpattia region, Western Ukraine. The Greek Catholic Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary headed by its parish priest, Dean of Tiachiv Deanery Father Yosyp Shtohryn, and Father Vasyl Vorokhta welcomed us warmly. The missions’ event program was busy and useful for parishioners and guests of the church. Every day leader of the missionary group Fr. Stanislav Irisik, CM, and his confreres who helped him – Fr. Leonid Kuklyshyn and Fr. Anantolii Tovkan prayed along with people, delivered instructive sermons, called for penance and revision of their lives and of relationships with God and neighbors. Each day was dedicated to an important particular topic of Christian life slowly leading the soul of a faithful and attentive listener to the theme of penance and restoration of a lively and strong contact with the Creator. Sisters Anastasia Kovalska and Yuliana Andrusiv had daily meetings with children and young people, teaching to the young generation such important and essential themes as “Faith”, “Prayer” and “Confession”. They also prepared youngsters for the Sacrament of Penance and for deeper reflection on their lives. Moreover, every day the Sisters visited sick and weak people, who were unable to come to the church on their own to hear the Word of God. They talked to those people, prepared them for the Confession and Eucharist which were later administered to them by priests at the end of the missionary week. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was an important experience for parishioners and the clergy, and before that chrism was administered in the presence of seven presbyters. Besides that, Sisters together with the Fathers presented a story and extraordinary healings that the Virgin Merry had passed over to the world through the Miraculous Medal. Parishioners received those medals and had a splendid opportunity to enroll for the Association of the Miraculous Medal.
Inspired by wise and deep homilies of the Fathers of the Mission, most parishioners approached the Sacrament of Reconciliation with God. Everyone had a chance to do a confession of the whole life as our patron saint, St. Vincent de Paul, had taught us. Raising a deep and sincere prayer of forgiveness, parishioners asked the Lord to heal their wounds that often went back even to their childhood. They asked the Lord to forgive them the way He forgave us everything.
At the end of the week, a blessing of children, of soon-to-be-mothers, of those women awaiting God’s blessing for giving birth to a child as well as of married couples and widowers was administered. The faithful were able to adopt an unborn child if he or she was under a threat of being aborted. Thus, through their prayer those people accompany a new life until its coming into the world. Besides, the Fellowship and the Book of Sobriety were established in the parish, where people could give a promise before God to abstain from alcohol for one year as a manifestation of their sacrifice and intersession for those not having the guts and the desire to break free from the terrible circle of alcoholism.
The missions finished at a mission cross near the immense and beautiful Church of the Assumption. Everyone could take a memorial cross for his or her family. Those small crosses were blessed with a prayer and distributed to people by the Fathers of the Mission.
We are sincerely grateful for such a splendid opportunity to be an instrument of God’s action, of His peace and love for us, sinners. We also deeply appreciate priests, Seminarian Brothers, ministerial family, Ms Anna Yanichkova and all those parishioners who hospitably followed the time of the holy missions and were attentive listeners and hard-working helpers. May the Lord bless abundantly those holy missions with rich fruits of conversions, change of life and unity with God and our neighbors.
Did you consider religious life? Did you consider becoming a missionary?