UGCC Sends Chaplains to the East and South of Ukraine

01.04.201417:41 On March 25, at the Department for Pastoral Affairs for the Ukrainian Military Forces of the Patriarchal Curia of UGCC, the work meeting of the military chaplains with the counselor of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Colonel Petro Kostyuk, took place. The priest, Lyubomyr Yavors’kyi, the Deputy Chief of the Department, together with Rev. Ivan Hnativ, the military chaplain of Sambir-Drohobych diocese, met to discuss the summary and perspectives of the activity of the Department according to the results of the five-day pastoral trip to the military units that are located at the South and the South East of Ukraine.

Father Lyubomyr Yavors’kyi shared his experience acquired during the visit to the military units and from directing chaplains of militaries. The issue of inter-confessional pastoral care during the time of high alert was discussed.

According to Fr. Lyubomyr, during this visit the chaplains passed to the units prayer books of the soldiers “Pray and serve” and rosaries.

Now the UGCC sends willing chaplains who have recieved special training to military units to the South and Southeast of Ukraine. Pastors communicate with soldiers who serve at block posts, and pray together.

“The absence of the Institute of Military Chaplains does not enable support of the militaries fully today, but the slogan ‘always to be nearby’ becomes true: we are in hot, volatile areas, we are nearby despite the absence of the legal basis for that,” says Fr. Lyubomyr Yavors’kyi.

Such trips are planned and will be realized if there is a need for this, which there is.

Fr. Ivan Hnativ also shared his impressions from the trip; in particular, he visited those soldiers who had been blessed by him for the service while they had been in Drohobych.

“I was moved when I saw the eyes of my care-receivers, comrades whom I had blessed recently. It was a meeting of close, dear people,” - says the chaplain. “Such an experience adds much inner power to the pastoral care, especially in this tense time. I felt by myself that I was needed as a pastor and there was the sense of cooperation between the Church and the army”.

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