CNEWA Canada

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has caused a dire humanitarian crisis for the people of Ukraine. 

From the very first days of the war, CNEWA has rushed aid to its partners in Ukraine, with a focus on providing immediate necessities, including food, medicine and shelter. Primary partners include Caritas Ukraine, Ukrainian Catholic University and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. 

The war has killed more than 22,000 civilians, created more than 8.1 million refugees and internally displaced another 5.6 million people. In the face of such ongoing suffering, CNEWA’s response remains urgent. 

Accompanying the Church 

The local church is a primary lifeline for the displaced, the traumatized, the injured, the orphaned, the hungry, those who were tortured or rendered homeless, and those whose relatives have been killed or are being held hostage. Given this fundamental work of the church, forming church leadership and fortifying the local church continue to be important.

In areas devastated by war, priests need external support to continue serving their parishes. CNEWA supports the clergy in the front-line exarchates of Donetsk, Odesa and Kharkiv. Many priests also serve as military and medical chaplains — vital ministries in times of war.

A few months after the invasion in 2022, seminaries returned to their normal programs of study. CNEWA supports formation programs in three Ukrainian seminaries as well as clergy formation in medical and military chaplaincy.

Seminarians stand outside a church in Lviv, Ukraine. (photo: John E. Kozar)

Responding to Human Needs

Since 2022, responding to human needs has become CNEWA’s priority in Ukraine, including emergency relief, health care, child care initiatives and care for the marginalized. 

The impact of war on children is immeasurable. The number of children orphaned by this war continues to rise, as does the number of children who suffer from the trauma of occupation, displacement or being near the front. For this reason, child care initiatives, including education and the integration of refugee children, are top priority for CNEWA in its humanitarian response. 

Government-run hospitals are overwhelmed from caring for wounded soldiers, and there is a growing need for alternative health care institutions to care for the displaced as well as local residents. Caritas Ukraine is developing a network of medical centers across Ukraine to fulfill the need for health care.

While in Irpin on a solidarity visit to Ukraine, Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari visited a food box program sponsored by CNEWA through Caritas Ukraine. (photo: courtesy UGCC Information Department)

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