Ukrainian Catholic Church responds to country's crisis
"We look after refugees, provide pastoral as well as material care for the families of soldiers, operate soup kitchens, and we are now also distributing food and medicines to other needy people."
NEW YORK—The Catholic Church in Ukraine is trying to aid people regardless of their faith.That is the clear message delivered by Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv, in Western Ukraine, where the Greek Catholic Church is in the majority.
The archbishop told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need: “We look after refugees, provide pastoral as well as material care for the families of soldiers, operate soup kitchens, and we are now also distributing food and medicines to other needy people.”
“Pope Francis listened very carefully to us, the bishops from Ukraine, and he promised to speak out for peace in Ukraine to those in positions of political responsibility and to the international institutions. He also agreed to give us material assistance for our work on behalf of Ukraine,” the prelate added.
The Catholic Church’s aid activities are directed to refugees from the conflict regions in the east of the country as well as to the needy in western Ukraine. The conflict has been made more acute by the critical economic situation in the country, explained the archbishop: “The Mayor of Lviv, for example, addresses himself directly to the Churches again and again, asking if we can help to accommodate such-and-such a number of refugees. There is great solidarity; Christians of different confessions are coming closer together. Although the people do not have very much, they help one another.”
The prelate reported that make-shift lodgings are now becoming a common site all over the country. Aid to the Church in Need supports the Church’s humanitarian initiatives in numerous Ukrainian dioceses. In recent months, a sum of more than $150,000 has been provided for this purpose.
ACN photo: Church-sponsored aid distribution in Ukraine