In our previous post I mentioned why we decided to head back to Rome. We met with p. Tomaž Lavrič, new superior general of the Lazarists.
We discussed about the prospects of our service and the needs of existing communities in different parts of Europe.
To Ukraine in November
After Italy, France and Spain, our journey will continue in Eastern Europe, precisely in Ukraine.
Ukraine has been under Russian influence and has been through some very turbulent political times in the past. In recent years, Ukraine is the target of Russian interests and it seems that its future is still quite uncertain.
Ukrainian politics tend to lean towards joining the European Union and western values, however the nation remains deeply divided.
Ukraine is faced with serious social problems, therefore it doesn’t surprise the active presence of many missionaries who alleviate ailments for marginalized groups and return hope to the people, who often can’t see the exit anymore.
For many years now, several successful Slovenian missionaries are present in Ukraine. Monastic community of the Lazarists with the help of Sisters of Mary opened four missions, in Odessa, Kiev and Trans-Carpathia region. In addition to the foreign missionaries, most active Slovenians were p. Tomaž Mavrič, s. Jožica Sterle and s. Marta Mesko.
Odessa and Kiev
With the Sisters of Mary, who are located in Ukraine, we initiated contact by help of p. Tomaž and received a hearty response. We can temporary join their missions in Odessa and Kiev already in the middle of November.
Helping ill and homeless people
In any case, we want to contribute our small fraction to their efforts, especially where the need is greatest. Sisters are serving the homeless and poor people in hospitals, where they take care of their hygiene. A new center for the homeless is opening up in Odessa, so our work in both missions will more or less be focused on people from the street.
Of course, we will write about it in greater detail when we actually live there and better acquaint with all the activities of local missionaries.
Lithuania and Poland on the horizon too
Beside Ukraine, another opportunity to serve in Lithuania and Poland has arisen. Aina, the Lithuanian (responsible for the Ulivo house, here at the Ark), has helped us to establish a connection with some of the communities in her motherland, while Leszek, a Polish priest, also offered his support if we ever head towards Poland. But everything is in God’s hands and as you are familiar by now, plans can easily change.
A new Operando Team member
There is something else that I would like to share with you. We got a new friend and Operando team member. Pete Socks is an American Catholic blogger from Pennsylvania. Pete is happily married and has five children.
On Patheos, a popular internet portal, Pete is writing comments on the newly issued publications and Christian books, and holds discussions with renowned Catholic authors and thinkers, such as Scott Hahn, Mike Aquilina, Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Elizabeth Scalia. Pete is also an editor of the popular Catholic newspaper Catholic Stand, where he regularly publishes his contributions.
Pete likes our project and was glad to join the current Operando team. As he says he would like to contribute his share of efforts to help people in greatest need. You can read who is who in the Operando team here.
November is coming closer
Meanwhile making plans and new projects of Operando society, we are fully embarked at the Ark to prepare the “Il Chicco” (the seed) house. It will be open for new Ark boys and girls in November, which is coming closer and closer now!
Volunteers, assistants and of course our boys and girls in the community are making great care that we are staying inspired, positive and open. Thank God for their example!