Provincial Custody of the Holy Cross in Ukraine
Mother Province: Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow)
After World War II, Friar Rafał KIERNICKI remained in Lviv, Ukraine, where, despite communist persecution, he served as the pastor of the cathedral there for fifty years. Thanks to him, after the fall of communism in 1989, five friars from Poland entered the Soviet Union. In the beginning, the friars engaged in pastoral ministry and founded parishes. They reclaimed and renovated churches and parish buildings or built new ones. On September 1, 1991, the Archbishop of Lviv entrusted the former Franciscan church of St. Anthony in Lviv to the Order, and in 1993 the St. Francis of Assisi Friary was erected. In 2000, the Bishop of Kiev offered the friars the Transfiguration Parish in Boryspil, and in 2001, His Eminence Cardinal Marian JAWORSKI entrusted the friars with the Shrine of Our Lady of Carmel in Bilshivtsi, Ukraine. In the years that followed, a Provincial Delegation was established in Ukraine and the diocesan bishops entrusted the Order with additional parishes. In 2005, the friars were entrusted with the parish in Kremenchuk, in the Diocese of Kharkiv-Zaporizhzhia. In 2010, they were entrusted with the parish in Maćkowce, in the Diocese of Kamieniec-Podolia. By 2016, the number of friars had increased and the foundations were laid for the Delegation to become a Custody. In 2020, the Mother Province of Cracow erected the Provincial Custody of the Holy Cross in Ukraine. The inauguration took place on September 14, 2020. During the same year, the Custody celebrated its first Ordinary Custodial Chapter.
The Jurisdiction currently has nineteen solemnly professed friars, two simply professed friars and five friaries.
Lviv: St. Francis of Assisi Friary
On June 13, 1995, the parish church here was proclaimed the St. Anthony Diocesan Shrine. The friary in Lviv, despite needing some repairs, is the most flourishing Franciscan center in Ukraine. The Shrine attracts many faithful from various nations. Liturgies and catechesis are conducted in two languages.
Boryspil: St. Bonaventure Friary
The first friar arrived in Boryspil on November 3, 2000. Soon after, the friars built a church and a friary. The church was consecrated on August 6, 2002. Since 2006, the friars have been living in a newly-constructed building next to the church. A postulancy program began here in 2005, and for eight years this friary was the seat of the Provincial Delegation. In addition to doing parish ministry in the Boryspil region, the friars serve orphanages, and work at Radio Maria and EWTN Television.
Bilshivtsi: Blessed James of Strepar Friary
Originally, a 17th a Carmelite convent stood here which had been damaged during the Second World War. In 2001, Cardinal JAWORSKI entrusted the Shrine of Our Lady of Carmel to the Order. The Blessed James of Strepar Friary in Bilshivtsi was canonically erected on October 21, 2012. The friars provide pastoral service at the Center for Peace and Reconciliation, foster interreligious dialogue and work with the Franciscan Youth.
Kremenchuk: St. Maximilian Friary
On September 1, 2004, the friars took possession of the local parish. In 2009, they purchased land here and built a church and a friary. The friars mainly do charitable work, distributing food and clothing to the poor and homeless. They also provide them with showers and first aid.
Khmelnytskyi: Our Lady of the Angels Friary
In 1995, the local villagers built a church in Maćkowce. In 2007, a rectory was built next to the church. On September 8, 2010, the Bishop of Kamieniec-Podolia entrusted the Conventual Franciscans with the Roman Catholic Parish of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maćkowce.
In 2012, the Our Lady of the Angels Friary was canonically erected. On January 1, 2021, the village was incorporated into the provincial city of Khmelnytskyi. On September 8, 2021, the parish church was erected as the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine.
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