On Wednesday July 8, 2020, the Ordinary Provincial Chapter of the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow) erected the Provincial Custody of the Holy Cross in the Ukraine. The Chapter was celebrated at the St. Maximilian Center in Harmęże, near Oświęcim [Auschwitz], Poland.
The Most Reverend Edward KAWA, OFM Conv., Auxiliary Bishop of Lviv in the Ukraine, participated in this historic moment. He had served as the Provincial Delegate in the Ukraine for nine years. Also attending was Friar Stanisław KAWA, the current Delegate of the Minister Provincial in the Ukraine, together with Friar Stanisław PĘKALA, the Secretary of the Delegation.
The Chapter approved specific tools for the mission and activities of the Provincial Custody in the Ukraine, such as offering service to the Church, combining the richness of the tradition, liturgy and spirituality of the East and the West, promoting peace and reconciliation in the Ukraine, and carrying out charitable activities characteristic of the Franciscan charism.
With the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, and the Capitulars looking on, the Minister Provincial, Friar Marian GOŁĄB and the Provincial Secretary, Friar Marian MICHASIÓW, signed the Decree of the erection of the Custody. The Decree will take effect on September 14, 2020, the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
In the Decree of Erection we read: “Being thankful to God for seven centuries of presence by the spiritual sons of St. Francis of Assisi in this territory known today as the Ukraine; and being mindful of the foundation laid by Duke Władysław Opolczyk in 1372, particularly the construction of the Church of the Holy Cross and the establishment of the Friary and Church of Saint Anthony of Padua in Lviv, four centuries ago; I now, thirty years after the renewal of the Order’s permanent presence in the Ukraine, and under new socio-political conditions, erect the Provincial Custody of the Holy Cross in the Ukraine.”
Friar Jan M. SZEWEK