By Tatiana Chekharivska
On Saturday July 4th, 2015, parishioners from the Redemptorist Church of the Immaculate Conception in Lviv, Ukraine gathered for a spiritual encounter. Blessed Bishop and Martyr Vasyl Velychkovsky united us all in prayer. Since our new Ukrainian martyrs were proclaimed on June 27, 2001, we held this celebration as close to this date as possible.
Fr. Yuriy Banha, a Redemptorist, celebrated a Divine Liturgy and a Moleben in honour of Blessed Vasyl Velychkovsky. He blessed the faithful with Blessed Vasyl’s relics and anointed them with holy oil. Father also reminded all those present how important it is to have such friends as Bl. Vasyl and other Martyrs of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. They offered their lives because of their great love for God and neighbour and that we too should imitate their deep faith and desire of Christ.
Those present had an opportunity to get to know the life of Blessed Vasyl through the presentation “Life and Martyrdom of Blessed Vasyl Velychkovsky.” Testimonies were given by Borys Mirus, who as a young man, was imprisoned with Blessed Vasyl; by Sister Modesta, OSBM who was Blessed Vasyl’s spiritual child; the niece of Bl. Vasyl – Iryna Kolomiyets, who presented an autobiography of the martyr: “My hope is Jesus and Mary”; and by Sister Theophilia, OSBM, who personally knew our Martyr, and who presently gives tours in his apartment-museum located at number 11, Soborna Square.
We are grateful to God for that time and also to Blessed Vasyl who taught us and will continue to do so with these words “There is nothing more left, that my heart would desire, because I have everything and can do everything in Jesus, whom I hold in my hands, whom I offer as a victim, whom I give to people. Christ is my Strenght, My God and My Lord!”