THIS PRESSED: In Ukraine, Churches confront fearsome suffering :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Military chaplaincy in eastern Ukraine, 2015. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.

Military chaplaincy in eastern Ukraine, 2015. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.

Suffering and hardship are also the lot of the faithful shepherded by Greek-Catholic Bishop Jaroslav Pryriz of the Eparchy of Sambir-Drohobyc, in western Ukraine. Twenty priests provide pastoral care of soldiers, mostly young men: volunteers as well as Ukrainian conscripts.

The bishop told Aid to the Church in Need that his priests “rotate every 45 days, because no one can stand it there any longer. Some who return never want to go back again because the psychological strain is just enormous. However, they go back because they want to take care of the faithful.”

“No matter whether they are Catholics, Orthodox, or members of other faiths, they are all are happy when a priest is just simply there for them, even though some have never even heard of God,” Bishop Pryriz added.

The bishop also reported on the situation in Kyiv: “Wounded soldiers from the east are being cared for at a temporary military hospital set up in the Greek-Catholic cathedral in Kyiv. Never before have I seen so much suffering, sorrow and tragedy. I am 53 years-old and have never experienced war, but what I am seeing now – people without hands, without legs, without eyes, ears – will haunt me forever.”

The prelate continued: “Many soldiers from our diocese have been killed. Either they have simply disappeared or no one knows anything about their whereabouts. We have been told that a number of them have been burned to death. Or they return in coffins. You cannot imagine it. There is so much sorrow over sons, fathers, husbands!”

via In Ukraine, Churches confront fearsome suffering :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

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