Ana Paula Morales
Catholic News Agency
One year from the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine, a Catholic priest recounted how a Ukrainian soldier was spared from being killed by praying the rosary.
In an interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Father Josafat Boyko, a member of the Institute of the Incarnate Word and pastor of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine, explained that part of his ministry is to provide spiritual direction to soldiers fighting the Russian invasion, which began Feb. 24, 2022.
On one occasion, a soldier told him that after leaving the place where he was in order to pray the rosary, “a bomb fell” on it.
“Thus by praying the rosary, he was saved from death,” the priest related.
‘The voice of the Church is very important’
Boyko stressed that in the face of the drama in Ukraine, “the voice of the Church is very important to tell the truth.”
“The Church has to raise its voice. She has to shout the truth to the world about the war in Ukraine,” he said.
“Many people are dying” in Ukraine, he said, and Ukrainians are known for defending “their people and their land.”
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from Feb. 24, 2022, when Russia’s armed attack against Ukraine began, until Feb. 12 of this year there have been 18,955 civilian casualties recorded in the country with 7,199 killed and 11,756 injured.
However, Boyko pointed out that the crisis dates back several years. “Ukraine since 2014 has been in a state of undeclared war. Russia began to attack Ukraine by attacking some territories of the province of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea,” he said.
Faced with the current humanitarian crisis, the priest said, “the churches in many places have become refuges for people who had to leave their homes because of the war.”
“So the Church as an institution began to be like an organization that helped obtain food from various countries of the world for the poor and needy.”
In addition, Boyko said that “we broadcast online the Josaft Boyko channel on YouTube and we pray for peace.”
It’s also possible for people “who don’t have a church” to be able to access the prayers “through the internet,” he explained.
The Ukrainian priest stressed that “we continue to preach the Gospel and continue to pray for the conversion of Russia, as well as what Our Lady of Fatima said in 1917, when she asked to pray for Russia.”
“We want to promote peace and not rancor,” he stressed.
Since the beginning of the war, they have dedicated themselves at the parish to distributing food and clothing to the poor and to the soldiers.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.