Connections With Msgr. Peter: Solidarity Visits to Ukraine

“Connections With Msgr. Peter” resumed on 27 September after a short summer break, with a special edition featuring Adriana Bara, national director of CNEWA in Canada, and Anna Dombrovska, projects officer, who spoke about their solidarity visit to Lviv in June, as well as the ongoing grave situation in Ukraine.

Nearly 600 days since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, more than 9,000 civilian deaths and 16,500 injuries have been recorded in Ukraine, reported Ms. Dombrovksa. As well, 17.6 million Ukrainians need humanitarian support, 6.2 million people have fled the country, and another 5.1 million are internally displaced.

This crisis also has had a grave impact on Ukraine’s youth, including estimates that some 19,000 Ukrainian children “have been forcibly transferred to Russia or occupied territories,” said Ms. Dombrovska.

The war in Ukraine is the “largest humanitarian displacement crisis in the world today,” she said.

“From east to west, from south to north, we help to bring food, warmth, shelter, medication, psychological relief, spiritual support,” said Ms. Dombrovska of the assistance provided by CNEWA through its partners, including Ukrainian Catholic University, Caritas Ukraine and the curia of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (U.G.C.C.). 

“And all of that is brought with the love of God,” she added.

Dr. Bara said the CNEWA-sponsored food box program, run by the curia of the U.G.C.C, allows the church “to give food to hundreds and hundreds of people.” 

Msgr. Peter Vaccari spoke about the CNEWA delegation’s meeting with Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych and emphasized the priority of the leader of the U.G.C.C. to establish “centers of resilience and pastoral care for a traumatized people.” These church-run centers are intended to provide free psychosocial support, education and humanitarian aid.

Msgr. Vaccari returned to Ukraine in August to visit the eastern regions, including the front-line cities of Irpin and Bucha.     

He also addressed the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, which he expanded upon in a special edition of “Connections With Msgr. Peter” the next day.

“As we see this very difficult situation unfold [in Nagorno-Karabakh], CNEWA once again is present,” said Msgr. Vaccari.

He continued to articulate his three priorities: “Number one, prayer. Number two, telling the true story. And number three, inviting you to accompany us in bringing aid and assistance to those who are suffering.”

Watch the episode on YouTube or Facebook.

Olivia Poust is assistant editor of ONE.

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