Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and chair of Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), will visit Poland and Slovakia this week to meet with Ukrainians fleeing the Russian military invasion of their homeland. The purpose of the visit is fourfold:
- Demonstrate solidarity with the people displaced by a military onslaught that has targeted not only military installations and infrastructure but civilians: their villages, homes, churches, places of refuge, even hospitals. The delegation will visit the displaced in receiving centers along the Polish and Slovak borders with Ukraine, as well as in Krakow and Warsaw.
- Show gratitude and solidarity with the caregivers — the priests, sisters and laity who have generously responded in meeting the needs of those in flight. The cardinal’s visit will highlight the Catholic Church’s numerous initiatives in providing refugees, regardless of creed, with shelter, clothing, food, medical care, counseling and safety. To date, CNEWA has rushed nearly $2 million in emergency aid to support these efforts in Ukraine, Georgia, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
- Express support for the leadership of the local churches. The delegation will meet with the leaders of the Greek Catholic and Latin churches, who have spearheaded many of these initiatives, and gather for prayers and silence with other church leaders.
- Assert the Christian commitment to support all those devastated by the evils of war, and to raise awareness of the human cost for this unprovoked aggression.
An agency of the Holy See, CNEWA is present in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe, working for, through and with the Eastern churches, rushing aid to displaced families; providing maternity and health care for the most vulnerable; assisting efforts for the marginalized, especially children, elderly and the disabled; and offering support for the formation of seminarians, religious novices and the laity.
Traveling with the cardinal will be CNEWA board member Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre; CNEWA President Msgr. Peter I. Vaccari; Bishop John Bonnici, representing Aid to the Church in Need; the executive director of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of New York, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan; and Michael La Civita, CNEWA’s communications director.