"Here we make the best coffee in town".
Father Pavlo Kunytskyy,
a Dominican, welcomes us to his bar, a real place at the entrance to the rectory of St. Michael the Archangel, in Fastiv, a Ukrainian town about seventy kilometers from the capital Kiev.
At "Cafe San-Angelo" they also make cappuccino and Italian espresso, as well as serve cakes, sandwiches and pizzas.
The bar, apart from Sundays which "is the day of the Lord", has never been closed, not even in the days of the bombs.
"People need to meet to gather courage, which is why we have never closed. It is then our business - explains the religious - with which we give work to various young people and with what remains we finance our works for those in need And today there are so many people in need here in Ukraine".
Three friars, in addition to
Pavlo there are also Jan and Michail,
help 2 thousand displaced people, including food parcels, distribution of clothes, stable reception for thirty families.
Next to the church they have also opened a heated tent where they serve those who, due to the war, need everything today, borsch and hot drinks.
This impressive work of solidarity was made known by
the Pope's Almoner
, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who celebrated mass here last Christmas and brought power generators and thermal T-shirts.
And here today the humanitarian and peace mission of the Franciscans, Auxilium, Sant'Egidio and the FIGC arrived, bringing medicines and sports uniforms for the children assisted by the centre.
The little ones asked to bring Pope Francis, in addition to wishes for a speedy recovery, a message written in their own hand with signatures in beautiful calligraphy.
"They wrote 'we are waiting for the day of peace' on a calendar of this 2023 because they said they want peace this year, any date as long as this year.
I will take this message to the Pope",
"We have seen with our own eyes the 'field hospital' church that Pope Francis wants, they help mothers and children, they have a school for children, a field kitchen, a truly beautiful church", comments Angelo Chiorazzo, president of the Auxilium cooperative .
To help the three Dominicans are about fifty volunteers who take turns every day, from 9 to 18, in shifts in the many services of the centre.
It is at the "Caffè" dedicated to the Archangel Michael that new projects are decided and ideas are exchanged.
Among the volunteers there is also Caterina who lived from 2002 to 2017 in Siena.
"I was fine in Italy but I came back to look after my mum. For many years I have helped yours", she says.
Then from her cell phone he shows a photo of a girl with a rhythmic competition leotard.
"She is Sofia, I raised her for seven years in Italy, she is like a daughter to me".
In the Dominican bar they also talk about how to organize the next Holy Week, from Palm Sunday, which is celebrated here with willow twigs, to the washing of the feet which in the church of San Michele di Fastiv will feature soldiers and volunteers, two categories that Ukrainians consider their guardian angels.