To desire and seek peace in the midst of suffering, uncertainty and anxiety

Peace I leave with you,

My peace I give to you.

Not as I give to the world, I give to you.

( Jn 14, 27)


What is true peace? How do we find it in the uncertainty of everyday life, in moments of danger, in the fatigue of listening to alarm signals? Is it possible?

The time of war continues… Everyday life here in the East of Ukraine raises all sorts of questions, especially questions about peace. Because everything on the outside points to a lack of peace and justice. So, in search of answers, I would like to share a personal and a community experience of finding peace.

One aspect of our charism is Franciscan spirituality. Following the example of Saint Francis, with simplicity of heart, we wish to go to all and bring peace in the same way that the Saint brought it. To bring the peace of Christ, it must first be received and experienced in life. This is why we learn from Saint Francis to listen to the words of Jesus about the true peace that he is.

Since my first days in Kryvyi Rih I have been grateful to God for this opportunity. I am thankful for my community, which is a huge gift and support in this place. Together we are learning to listen to the signs of the present time, to join in the common journey of the Church in the East of Ukraine. In the present time, there is a multitude of needs here on many levels, starting from basic human needs to spiritual, emotional, psychological…. The dangers and constant living in danger caused by the war bring with them many deficiencies in children, young people, military personnel and their families, the elderly people. The census is lengthening together with the lengthening of the war. On the other hand, now is the time to bring peace with trust in God to concrete places and to concrete people. As a community, we join in the work of cooking and distributing lunches to the poor and marginalised persons at our church. At our parish community we work in the preparation of the liturgy at the our church and in the catechesis of children, youth, adults. Twice a week, children from the parish, children from pathological families and children from families of the poor come to us for joint activities. It is a time of shared meals, supportive activities and catechesis, where we get to know God together.

A huge joy of mine is going to music therapy classes every week with children and young people on the autism spectrum. It is a time of making music together, listening to the beautiful sounds of music, singing, expressing their emotions and teaching them how to cope with war time through music.

On a daily basis, there are many opportunities to bring peace to others, starting with the most simple gesture – a smile, which can brighten the day and ignite new hope in the fatigue of war. Therefore, it is very precious and important to trust daily in Jesus, who is the true Peace. Only He can teach to live, to serve in this place and to become His witness, the Risen Lord! A God who does not leave His people, but is with them at all times!


Yana Chop, fmm