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A different view of the Stations of the Cross

March 29, 2024 

March 29 

Good Friday 

 

As I reflect on the meaning of Good Friday and continue contemplating this experience with the 14 Stations of the Cross in mindI’ve selected 14 images and brief stories that demonstrate the courage of the Ukrainian people as they lived their lives in the midst of war.  


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A Ukrainian boy sits atop an abandoned tank near the “grand princess Olga” statue (wearing a bulletproof vest) in front of parliament in Kyiv. The war has been particularly disturbing for children. “My four-year-old daughter asked me every day when the war will be over,” our Ukrainian interpreter said. She goes on to share about her friend who had to walk from Bucha to Kyiv (about 20 miles) with her five-year-old daughter at the beginning of the war when the Russian army captured Bucha. “Those who fled Bucha on foot tried to cover the children’s eyes because there were burned cars and dead bodies all along the way, and they knew they themselves could be shot at any time.” 

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The city of Bucha was completely occupied by the Russian army early in the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Olga, a resident who lived through those days, says she remembers the tanks rolling into the town and the terror that would follow. “There were shootings all the time,” Olga said, “and when there was silence, it was as terrifying as the sound of the guns, because you didn’t know if what was coming would be worse.”  

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A man pauses in Market Square, Lviv, to read the biographies of local soldiers who have died in the war over the last month.  

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Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv, in a new section for Ukrainian soldiers who have fighting the invasion since 2022. More than 600 soldiers are buried in this section. Families visit graves to decorate them with flags, flowers and mementos.

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The remains of the Romaniv Bridge from Kyiv to Irpin, Ukraine. 

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Visitors to the remains of the Romaniv Bridge can read a memorial that tells the story of why the bridge was destroyed.  

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A wall of remembrance in Kyiv for fallen soldiers in the Russian-Ukrainian war, starting in 2014. The estimated number of deaths and injuries on both sides is about 500,000 people 

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A cultural center in Bucha, Ukraine was devastated by war in 2022.  

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A family from the eastern part of Ukraine had to flee their home and are now staying in a shelter in Kyiv. The pregnant woman’s husband is a soldier stationed on the front lines.  

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Rusted Russian tanks line a major road in Irpin, Ukraine. In February 2022, half the city was occupied by the Russian army. The tanks were abandoned when the Ukrainians regained all of Irpin on March 28, 2022. Spray-painted on the Russian tank is “Glory to Ukraine. 

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A neighborhood in Irpin sustained major damage by the Russian army shelling in 2022. Residents must raise funds to repair and rebuild their homes and apartment buildings.  

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The Roman Catholic cathedral in Lviv has put metal coverings over the stained-glass windows to protect them from bombing.  

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Saint Nicholas Roman Catholic Church in Kyiv. The building sustained significant damage from bombing and hasn’t been repaired. However, the parish continues to hold Masses in the basement.  

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At the beginning of the war in 2022, people tried to escape from Irpin to Kyiv but could not cross the bridge. Bombs destroyed cars and trucks of people who abandoned them. As a reminder of all the life and property lost during those devastating days, a “car cemetery” now exists on the roadside where hundreds of people drive by every day.  

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A different view of the Stations of the Cross