Ukraine, like every other country in the world, has been impacted by the Covid 19. Our hearts and prayers have been in a special way with the people who live in the territories of the War Zone, an area which is located in the South-Eastern part of Ukraine.

Here on a daily basis it is an extremely difficult task to live, but now with the added quarantine and lock-down between the villages, some are without even an opportunity to simply get to the grocery store, is an additional hardship. Our preparations for bringing help began with the sewing of masks for both of the military and the civilian people. With the help of many people we were able to sew 6500 in total!!!

June 23 -24, 2020 was the only possible dates that worked for everyone and since the quarantine was ‘semi’ lifted we couldn’t wait any longer. We decided to go and to personally deliver food and cleaning supplies to 210 people. More than half of these people have been touched by our mission since 2017, through the surgeries provided by our St Padre Pio Medical Surgery mission with the help of our beloved Spanish doctors from Madrid.

It was a providence from God the Father that these precise dates were the Vigil and Feast of St John the Baptist!

“I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord,”‘ John 1:23

The people were deeply moved with tears by our arrival. They were deeply touched by the fact that they were not forgotten and that we care and remember each of them. The mission was very difficult and at times dangerous. Fr Thomash Nadberezny, Alena Lastochkina and Deacon Chris Powroznik were incredibly brave! They set off in the heat and on the rough roads to personally visit the people in 13 villages. It was heart breaking to see the conditions that some of the people have to live in. For us it was just two days, but for them their lives have been in constant danger for over 5 years. Some villages are located in the most dangerous parts of the war zone, where war is active and hardly any help is received. These people, whom we have gotten to know well through our St. Padre Pio surgery mission, have become truly precious to us! In the surgeries, by opening the Body we hope to sow the seeds of faith trough prayer, the Sacraments and concrete works of love. Thus for us it was greatly significant to do the mission on such an important feast. The road has been prepared and Jesus has entered to make an offering of love to God the Father.

We want to express our Very Big gratitude to everyone who prayed and who supported this mission financially and continuing to care for Ukrainian people.

Thank you for the brave hearts of Fr Thomash Nadberezny, Alena Lastochkina and Deacon Chris Powroznik and our truck driver Sergey who went in spite of difficulties on the mission.

Thank you to Nina Memedlyaeva and Tamara Krulikovskaya who helped us organize our visit through the villages, to Volodimir and Oxana Zavodsky HSP Mariupol-Pionerske who hosted us for the night and offered their time, help and care at the “Ark Center”, and to Andriy Chmilenko who participated and helped in organizing all three St. Padre Pio surgical missions.

Thank you to our Priests from the Shrine of Merciful God the Father Fr Andrey Popov, Fr Viktor Chibuike, Fr Alexander Puhalsky, Fr Alexandr Karapetyan and to all parishioners who helped us to pack the truck and getting everything ready.

Thank you to the Carmelite Sisters of “Our Lady of Carmel” and the Oleg Fomenko and Center of Mother and Child “House of Hope” for making 3500 Masks, to Anya Makushynska and the ladies from the Polish Society of St Pope John Paul II, Zaporozhye, to Katya Gerzenuk who donated 100 masks, to the Dzurabaevy family who donated some material, to Sasha and Masha Grin-Odnoral, to Morkovkina Olga, Julia Arteminko, Stasya Volinskaya and all the other parishioners from the Shrine of Merciful God the Father in Zaporozhye who participated in sewing or donating material.

Thank you to our precious children at St Maria Goretti Day Care Center whose mission was to help pack the individual bags for the masks and to our incredible team who work at the daycare: Alena Lastochkina for coordinating the whole process, Anya Solovey and Tatyana Zhychenko who helped with patience, dedication love and care.