13 March 2014
Father Mykhailo Dymyd stands in downtown Kiev at the site of the demonstrations on the Maidan.
(photo: Yaryna Pochtarenko)
Priests and sisters have shown extraordinary courage throughout the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. With their bodies, they are protecting people from violence. With their voices, they are speaking out for unity, harmony and the common good. In these new and uncertain days, courageous priests and sisters are needed more than ever.
A Kiev-based journalist, Liubov Eremicheva, had a chance to interview some of these special men who were present on the Maidan when the protests were taking place. One of them is Father Mykhailo Dymyd from Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. Here’s part of what he had to say:
“The main mission of a priest is prayer. Prayer can be manifested in many different ways. For me as a priest, the most important prayer is the Divine Liturgy. Millions of people bring their own sacrifice. A hundred people died on the Maidan during demonstrations and we need to value their sacrifice. Prayer and liturgy are important because they bring our sacrifices in front of God, who is capable of transforming them into something lasting and deeply rooted in our hearts. Prayer helps people return home to their towns and villages with a new spirit: the spirit of love and respect, which we all felt when were here on the Maidan in Kiev. When a priest prays, then others around him pray with him as well, regardless of their religious affiliation or even regardless of whether they believe in God at all. A priest is a symbol of a spiritual support. We listen to people’s needs and hear what they have to say; we comfort and hear confessions. … Some of the boys who died here on the square had come to me and said: ’I want to confess because I want to die sinless.‘ They felt that these might be the last moments of their life.
“A priest has to be with his people always, not only at the parish or when the life is good. He has to care about his people and accompany them on their journeys. Right now, our people have shown tremendous efforts in protesting for their dignity on the Maidan Square. However, right now, many are asking themselves: ‘What’s next?’ When people started to fight for their rights, they forgot for a moment about their daily problems. Now that some victory has been achieved, people are returning again to their daily problems. When we were thirsty for freedom, we were all together. Now we are returning to our corners and we might feel lonely there again. And in these moments, people have to help one another; this is not something that only priests can do.”
Through Catholic Near East Welfare Association, you can assist priests like Father Mykhailo Dymyd to stand with the Ukrainian people and their aspirations for a better future. You can help the church to reach out to the marginalized, the sick and the poor.
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Tags: Ukraine CNEWA Eastern Churches Church Ukrainian Catholic Church