Ukraine after invasion: prayer in the night is access to God

2015-10-13 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) After four years as Papal Nuncio to Ukraine, Archbishop Thomas Gullickson reflects on the challenges faced by Ukrainians after their country was thrown into turmoil in 2014. The lives of millions of Ukrainians were destabilized, leaving up to two million people “on the run” and “having to find a new homeland,” the Archbishop told Vatican Radio.

In the midst of the struggle, however, “marvelous things can happen,” he said. “There’s an openness to prayer, a desire really in some way or another for God’s intervention and protection.” The responsibility of the Church in such circumstances is significant. “It’s a big responsibility for the Church to know how to mediate that and to respond to this seeking on the part of people of good will in some way or another – to use another expression, wrapped under the mantle of the Blessed Mother and protected.”

The Archbishop recalled that during the crisis, Catholic parishes organized nightly prayer vigils in Kiev which grew into vast outpourings of faith. “The Conventual Franciscans … started very simply, using the time they were assigned … at 3 in the morning, to pray the rosary. And at first the people there in the square didn’t understand what was going on. They didn’t know their prayers.”  The Archbishop told of the Franciscans passing out small white plastic rosaries to the people coming to pray in the night. “Until finally, one night alone, they handed out 5,000 rosaries and the people began praying with them. It’s still exciting for me today. It was a pre-catechesis, it was a moment of prayer and it has brought the rosary into the lives of these people as a symbol of something we don’t understand but which they certainly do and is access to God.”

Listen to the full interview: 

(from Vatican Radio)