Friday, May 13, 2022


In October 2018, I had the unique experience of leading a priest retreat for the Bishop and priests of the Eparchy of Parma, Ohio, at Saint Meinrad Archabbey. Bishop Milan Lach SJ, Bishop of the Ruthenian Eparchy of Parma, and most of his priests are immigrants to the USA from Slovakia. As Eastern Rite Catholics in union with Rome, they have a Jesuit Bishop. Their Bishops are celibate, but their priests may marry. Most of the Slovakian priests on this retreat were married.

Even though there are several Eastern Rite Christians in that part of the world, their cultures and religious ceremonies have some obvious similarities.

In this current Russian-Ukrainian war, Slovakia has taken in over 300,000 Ukrainian refugees so far. Sharing a short border with western Ukraine, Slovakia has seen a steady influx of mostly women and children refugees. According to Igor Matovic, Slovakia’s finance minister, Slovak households that provide refugees with shelter will receive financial assistance from the government. The country is also providing military assistance to Ukraine in the form of artillery ammunition and fuel.

Arriving refugees have been met by NGOs providing food and water, hygiene supplies, medical care, and legal advice. Veterinarians are even present to attend to people’s pets. The Slovak chapter of the Order of Malta, a Catholic human rights order, has been coordinating accommodations and rides for refugees who need to move to a different location.

Bishop Milan Lach, S.J. 

God bless Slovakia in its compassion! God bless Ukraine in its suffering!


No comments:

Post a Comment