Heavy hearts but hopeful spirits for Canberra’s Ukrainian Catholics
Despite the dire perils facing their homeland, there was hope amid the heavy hearts when Canberra’s Ukrainian Catholic community gathered last Sunday at St Volodymyr’s at Lyneham in Canberra’s inner north.
Parish priest Fr Wally Kalinecki admitted the situation for the community was “very, very, hard” at present.
During the liturgy concelebrated by Fr Paul Nulley of St Joseph’s Church in O’Connor, Fr Kalinecki drew parallels between Sunday’s reading from St Matthew’s gospel and what was happening in Ukraine.
“Today’s gospel says I was hungry and you gave me food,” said Fr Kalinecki.
“And you could say to Putin I was your neighbour and [yet] you fired rockets at me.”
“We look at Jesus; Jesus is the hope; Jesus is my hope. The fact that we can still continue to carry on is absolutely the strength of our Lord.”
Fr Kalinecki also said he had joined supporters rallying outside Canberra’s Russian Embassy. He told them he’d heard they were gathering to raise their voices “for freedom, for democracy, and for the right to exist. And that’s the reason I am here with you, to hear your voice,” he said. “That gives us hope.”
“So Ukraine needs a lot of our prayers and our support and of course it needs peace.”
“The important thing is that this is not forever; it will pass.”
Referring to the protests in Russia against the Putin regime, Fr Kalinecki later told the Catholic Voice that “we should support those people and tell them we are with them.”
“May God give them strength to sway Putin so that he might realise he is doing the wrong thing and pull out from Ukraine.”