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The program now provides spiritual guidance and catechism instruction in three orphanage schools and two orphanages for preschool children in Lviv as well as five orphanage schools in the town and villages of Briukhovychi, Chervonohrad, Livchytsi, Zhovtantsi and Zhuravno. It also publishes a four-page quarterly.

In general, Subdeacon Ostapyuk and Father Prokopets celebrate liturgies for the children and staff in chapels in or near the orphanage schools. If there is no chapel in the vicinity, they improvise. In the summer, they often celebrate the liturgy outdoors. In addition, they explain the meaning of the liturgy to the youngsters as well as teach them lessons from the Bible and about Christian values.

Each summer, the men also help run the Druzhba Camp for orphaned children and youth, some of whom have disabilities, in the village of Svirzh, 39 miles southeast of Lviv. For the rest of the day, they and a group of volunteers oversee a daily agenda of outdoor activities, crafts and games.

“We often do not receive a lot of support from the teachers in the institutions,” says Subdeacon Ostapyuk. “But, the saddest thing is that some orphanages belong to particular parishes, which don’t take any interest in the children.

“Unfortunately,” he sighs, “there are numerous challenges for us.”

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Contributors Mariya Tytarenko and Petro Didula are based in Lviv.

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Tags: Education Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Priests Seminarians Vocations (religious)