Letter From Ukraine, May 16, 2022

Dear Friends of Shem Center,

Here is another letter received from my Dominican brother in Ukraine. Fr. Jaroslaw Krawiec, OP, the Vicar Provincial from Poland ministering in Ukraine. His account of life there reports on details not seen on our news accounts. Should you feel moved to support his work in Ukraine with those displaced by the ongoing war, feel free to send your donation made payable to Shem Center and I will forward it on to an account accessible to Fr. Jaroslaw. 

— Joseph Kilikevice,OP

Dominican Shield

Dear Fr. James, Dear Brothers,

This is already the third month of the war. This long and difficult period radically changed the lives of all the inhabitants of Ukraine, including us, the Dominican brothers. We’re watching, with great pain, the sufferings of millions of people, and we do our best to accompany those who have lost hope, health, shelter, and even their loved ones as a result of the Russian aggression. We’re praying for peace and mercy.

As Dominican brothers of the provincial Vicariate of Ukraine, we’ve chosen to stay with the people to whom we were sent in the time of peace. While continuing to pray, especially in celebrating the Eucharist in our communities, we also started bringing help to all in need since the first day of war, and our priories gave shelter to people escaping from war. In the Kyiv convent, almost twenty people, including students from the Institute of St. Thomas Aquinas, found their home.

A particularly important place where our help is most effective is Fastiv. Thanks to the close collaboration of the sisters, brothers, lay Dominicans, and many volunteers at the House of Saint Martin de Porres, we managed to bring help in a variety of ways to thousands of people affected by war. Over 1,700 refugees, mainly women and mothers with children, as well as elderly and handicapped, were evacuated to Poland with our help. Hundreds of tons of food, medicine, and clothing found their way to the most afflicted. Since the first moments of the withdrawal of the Russian army from the vicinity of Kyiv and Fastiv, we’ve been participating in the reconstruction of ruined villages and towns. We’re doing everything we can to allow their inhabitants to return to their homes quickly and restart normal life.

“Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.” {Mk 9:41} These words were read at the Liturgy of the Eucharist on February 24. This was also the day that the horrible war began and the tragedy of the Ukrainian nation shocked people around the world.

I would like to express gratitude for the help we’ve received. The fact that I, together with my brothers and sisters, can offer help in the middle of war is possible only thanks to good, compassionate, and merciful people from around the world. I am certain that without their prayers and spiritual sacrifices, we would have run out of strength and the will to stay with the suffering a long time ago. Without your money that keeps flowing into our bank accounts, we wouldn’t be able to buy food, medicine, fuel, and building materials, nor organize humanitarian convoys and evacuations. Thank you for being with us and with Ukraine.

Every day I can see in the eyes of those who decided to stay and defend their country, how important solidarity is to them and how they treasure the conviction that they are not alone in their fight for justice and truth. As brothers of the Dominican Order, we are now in Ukraine on your behalf, too.

The financial donations we’ve been receiving since the first days of the war are used to help those in need and also to support our priories and communities in this difficult economic situation. We are particularly grateful for the help dedicated to the House of St. Martin de Porres in Fastiv and the Institute of St. Thomas Aquinas in Kyiv.

Despite the ongoing war, we dare to think about the future. We are aware that Ukraine, for many coming years, will be in need of help and support in rebuilding. We’re planning, when the situation allows, to begin the expansion of the House of Saint Martin in Fastiv and the creation of a similar center in Chortkiv, in the building of the old Dominican priory. There will be a great need for places where people with physical, psychological, and spiritual wounds can find help and support. For this reason, we’re already dedicating part of the donations for those projects, hoping the continuous support and solidarity of so many people around the world will allow us to finalize these plans in the not-so-distant future.

Thank you again for your help. I would like to assure you that we remember you in our prayers. Since the first days of war, whenever I witness the compassion and help that we’re constantly receiving, I think of the words of the Gospel: “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”‘ (Mt 25: 34-40)

With brotherly greetings in St. Father Dominic,

Father Jarostaw Krawiec OP
Vicar Provincial of Ukraine

If you have any questions, please contact me:
Help for the Dominicans in Ukraine can be sent to these accounts:
Account Name: Polska Prowincja Zakonu Kaznodziejskiego 0.0. Dominikan6w Address: ul. Freta 10, 00-2 27 Warszawa, Polska
Address of bank: 2, Kasprzaka str., Warsaw, Poland
Branch Code: 16000003
Account Numbers (IBAN):
PL 0316001374 1849 2174 0000 0033
(PLN) PL 7316001374 1849 2174 0000 0034 (USD)
PL 52 16001374 1849 2174 0000 002 4 (EUR)

With the note: “Help for Ukraine”

Return to NEWS

Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality
708 North Harvey Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302

(708) 848-1095

Photo Credits: Emory Mead, Stephen B. Starr, Joseph Kilikevice

The Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality website is awarded a 2022 American Digital Design Award for excellence in design and user experience.

2022 American Digital Design Awards