Letter to the Dominican Family on the anniversary of the war in Ukraine
Warsaw, 23 February 2023
Reg. Prow. 104/23
On February 24th a year will pass since a full-scale war began in Ukraine. We don’t think that any of us expected that it would so quickly become the largest military conflict in Europe since the end of the World War II, and also that what was happening in Ukraine would touch people’s hearts even in the most remote areas of our planet. We could not have imagined that in what appeared to be peaceful and safe times Russia’s military aggression against an independent and free country like Ukraine would turn out to be so brutal and bring immeasurable human suffering. Over the past year, we have watched with pain as the homes and streets of Ukrainian towns and villages were destroyed every day. Many of us have wept along with those who lost their loved ones. We were with those fleeing the horror of death and did everything we could to help Ukrainian mothers, children, the elderly and the sick. So many families welcomed war-weary refugees into their homes. They also found shelter and tender care in many Dominican priories and communities. That’s why today we want to call out to God with gratitude in the words of Psalm 68: “Your family, O God, has found this dwelling, which in your kindness you have given to the poor.”
Dear Sisters and Dear Brothers, in this short letter we would like to thank each of you most sincerely for your compassion and solidarity with Ukraine. We, brothers and sisters who remain in Ukraine, have experienced your closeness since the first days of war. Many of you, especially in the social media, used this phrase: “I have a family in Ukraine.” And indeed, you have shown us through your support, prayers and concern that we are truly brothers and sisters in Our Holy Father Dominic.
Our ministry of mercy towards so many victims of this war, the maintenance of priories and churches, as well as the continued engagement in so many tasks carried out in Ukraine for many years by our Order would have been difficult, if not impossible, without the financial support shown to us by the Provinces, priories of sisters and brothers, parishes, Dominican lay communities and so many people of good will. We would like to thank you for this! We are also grateful and full of appreciation for the commitment of the sisters, brothers and lay people of our Order in organizing various aid to Ukraine, as well as for the courage to personally serve the refugees at border crossings, railroad stations and airports, and to reach the war-torn country with humanitarian convoys. We also cannot overlook the many extremely important preaching and prayer initiatives, media activity, pilgrimages, meetings and conferences held in Dominican schools and universities, concerts, exhibitions and artistic performances that were related to the situation in Ukraine.
While we are commemorating this sad anniversary, we also do not forget about our sisters and brothers who are suffering from wars, military conflicts and natural disasters in other parts of the world. We are with you and want to share your pain too.
We are grateful to the merciful God for each one of you and humbly ask for your continued prayers for Ukraine!
Your brothers in Holy Father Dominic,
Fr. Łukasz Wiśniewski, OP
Prior Provincial of the Polish Province of Dominicans
Fr. Jarosław Krawiec, OP
Vicar Provincial of Ukraine