Youth Ministry in Ukraine

On October 23-26, 2020, a retreat for girls was held in Kiev. The archetype of the woman in the Bible – was the theme of our retreat. During these days, girls had the opportunity to encounter God, themselves and each other. The retreat program included, among others: Holy Eucharist, conferences, group work, faith sharing, liturgy of the hours and adoration. There was also recreation and a walk together… Looking at selected examples of women: Esther – queen, Eve – mother, Judith – fighting and Mary – changing, the girls could ponder the wonderful gifts that God put into the heart of each of them. The retreat was animated by the Sisters: Sr. Olga Stanisławienko, Sr. Beata Sobczyk and Sr. Małgorzata Łopatka. Sister Marta Bajkowska also came for the retreat with girls from Żytomierz. Other Sisters were also involved as much as possible.

The fall holidays for children lasted from October 22 – 29. In our parish, we organized this time so that all, younger and older children, could find something for themselves.

In Kherson, on October 22 – 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., we invited younger children, aged 5 – 12. Angels were the subject of the three days of activities, games and common prayer. The children learned interesting things about Angels, about their existence and tasks, and became familiar with some biblical scenes involving Angels. During artistic activities, we were painting, gluing cut-outs and making the images of Angels out of clay. We had a Mass every day, as well as common games, thanks to which we had a fun time. We were eating tasty meals prepared by Sister Emiliana. We even managed to go on a trip to the island, where we admired the large ships, which were making waves from which it was fun to escape. Although not all of them made it on time, the Angels protected us from getting sick. We have many good memories and a desire to meet more often.

On October 26 – 29, we invited older children, aged 12 – 15, to a retreat during which the children stayed and slept in the parish house. The retreat was preached by Sister Olga Stanisławienko, who came to us from Kiev. The topic of the retreat was: Imagination. The purpose of the retreat was to show how the imagination is connected with the general development of each person – adults and children. During the retreat, the children learned a lot from Sister Olga’s conferences. We immediately implemented the theory we had heard during practical exercises with help from Sr. Olga Kozuba.

The children enthusiastically engaged in the proposed thematic activities outdoors, and organized team games in their free time. It was good to see how they all stayed together and helped each other in a friendly way.

On the last day, everyone praised the meals of Sister Emiliana, who was cooking for us at that time.

During these days, one could see the teenagers trying to “grow up” and so they did! Some began to speak more openly during sharing, others more courageously responding to publicly asked questions. This rich and cheerful time has become a self-discovery for many.

S. Beata Sobczyk, s. Olga Kozuba

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