Grzegorz Draus is not an astronaut, although he may look like one, nor is he a pilot of some kind of special spaceship, but he is part of a very special mission. The protection and security measures are enormous, he has to wear a very specific type of protective equipment which includes no less than 14 different items. He is not the only one obliged to use this equipment; everybody participating in this mission has to do so. The aim: to care for the bodies and souls of COVID-19 patients in a special hospital in the city of Lviv in Ukraine.
In the corridors of the hospital, there are many other people devoted to the same cause, dressed like him in facemask, protective goggles, overalls, gloves, and boiler suit.…, They include doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff – but as for Grzegorz, he is recognizable because he wears an additional item in his equipment that distinguishes him from the rest, namely his priestly stole.
Grzegorz Draus is Father Grzegorz in fact, a Polish Catholic priest from Lublin, who has for the past nine years been exercising his ministry in Lviv, one of the most important cultural and scientific centers of Ukraine. In the Lviv region, there are over 3000 infected people and 700 of them in hospital, while almost 100 have died so far from the coronavirus epidemic. Here, ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, he has been visiting the COVID-19 patients in the hospital twice a week. “Unfortunately, owing to my other pastoral work, it is impossible for me to visit more often”, he explains sadly.