In the east of the country a ongoing conflict, in the west rampant corruption, and everywhere galloping inflation. Yet in the midst of the darkness the seminarians sing God’s praises, in the midst of the chaos they revere his divine wisdom and continue to study for peace and reconciliation.

In the two Ukrainian Greek-Catholic seminaries of Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil-Zboriv in west Ukraine their faith ensures that they still look with confidence to the future. Their sense of a great community strengthens their certainty that God is with them. There are 221 seminarians in Ivano-Frankivsk and 153 in Ternopil-Zboriv.

They come from a number of different dioceses. The Church recovered the seminary buildings, which had been confiscated and left in ruins by the Soviets, thoroughly repaired and refurbished them and filled them once again with young men whose hearts beat truly for Christ and for the Church. But the bursar is not the only one to realise that the prices of electricity, water, gas and basic food supplies are rising relentlessly today.

For years the seminaries have been trying to cope with this crisis by growing their own food, keeping bees and raising livestock. But it’s just not enough. Quite often the seminary also helps the poor in the region. State support? No chance. The average basic living cost for each seminarian in west Ukraine works out at around €3,500 per year. We have promised to help.

This is also an investment in the future of the Ukrainian Catholic communities abroad; a number of the young priests who emerge from these seminaries will later go to Kazakhstan, Italy and other parts of the world where they will proclaim peace to all people of goodwill.

Thank you for helping these seminarians to continue singing the Lord’s praises in the midst of the chaos and suffering which is the present-day Ukraine.

This article can be found in Mirror 0118.