12:47 PM

From Academics to Survival: A UST student in Ukraine

For Immediate Release

Father Volodymr Malchyn and familyHouston (April 18, 2022) – When Dr. Mario Enzler, Dean of the Cameron School of Business at University of St. Thomas – Houston (UST) came in contact with Father Volodymyr Malchyn in August of 2021, little did he know that in a matter of months their conversation topics would go from academics to survival. Father Malchyn, his family, and parishioners live in Vyshneve, a suburb in Kyiv in war-torn Ukraine.

"We felt the war knocking at our doors in the early morning hours of February 24, when we were woken up by terrible sounds of bombardments of the Ukrainian capital," said Father Malchyn.

Fr. Malchyn is a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic priest and pastor of St. Anne's parish in Vyshneve. He is also enrolled in a unique program offered to clergy by UST, the Master of Science in Ecclesial Administration and Management (MEAM). The program teaches financial skills such as crisis management, budgeting, fundraising, administrative management and strategy to enhance their leadership roles within their parishes. Additionally, Fr. Malchyn leads the Development and Communications office for the Archeparchy of Kyiv.

When the sound of the bombs got louder, Fr. Malchyn decided to evacuate his wife and young children.

"We had a backpack with documents and medicine ready, and in 10 minutes, we left our home in the suburbs of Kyiv for western Ukraine to my relatives. We left everything behind – our apartment, clothes, favorite books and toys," he said.

Fr. Malchyn returned to Ukraine as required by the current martial law. There, he continues to lead the few members of his parish who remained behind. Meanwhile, he stays connected to the rest of his flock virtually.

"We stay in touch through the online celebration of the Divine Liturgy and daily rosary prayer in the evening,” Fr. Malchyn said. “It's a true moment of unity and solidarity for our dispersed community. Together we pray for our brave soldiers and for all those who support Ukraine. We thank God with every new dawn,".

His work has been essential in supporting the Ukrainian-Catholic Church. His day-to-day activities include organizing financial aid initiatives, updating communications with partners and donors, and generating electronic newsletters.

Fr. Malchyn said, "As a parish community, we organize humanitarian aid for people in need who decided to stay in our city. Recently we also helped our city administration to get substantial aid from the Church's network of Caritas-Ukraine. There is a shortage of food and medicine because the Russian troops block and shoot at rescue corridors, not allowing humanitarian convoys to pass through.”

Dr. Enzler and his priest classmates from the MEAM Program have kept in communication with him as often as the conflict allows.

"The only possible way to communicate is through WhatsApp," says Dr. Enzler. "I try not to disturb him, so I usually send a message once a week, and sometimes he answers quickly, sometimes he responds after a few days."

Each message comes with the same words of encouragement Dr. Enzler once received directly from none other than Pope John Paul II.

"I tell Fr. Malchyn what St. Pope John Paul II told me: Do not be afraid because God is always one day ahead of us!"

For now, as the world watches the advances of the Russian army and millions of faithful individuals pray for an end of hostilities, Fr. Malchyn applies crucial skills from the MEAM program.

"The lessons learned in the fundraising and especially in the crisis management classes at the Ecclesial Administration and Management program are of great help at this critical moment,” Fr. Malchyn said.

To the world, Fr. Malchyn has one request: Do not forget Ukraine.

"Let your Christian love and human solidarity be long-lasting and abounding, for only in this way can just and lasting peace be built,” he asserted.

From Academics to Survival: A UST student in Ukraine

The University of St. Thomas is Houston’s Catholic University. For more than 70 years, UST has graduated students into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more. As Houston grows, UST will continue to provide the strong leaders and skilled workers needed to meet those demands.