“We need your support to have a chance to respond to the humanitarian crisis and assist the people affected by war.” 

Help is needed: 

Caritas Internationalis launched an emergency appeal to provide relief to Ukraine after Russia invaded the country on Thursday, Feb. 24.

“We cannot ignore the tragic humanitarian implications of this war,” said Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Aloysius John in a statement released Thursday. “It is the duty of the international community to protect the Ukrainian people and ensure their access to life-saving assistance.”

Caritas Internationalis called for full humanitarian aid to all those impacted, as well as freedom of movement for those looking to leave areas of conflict.

The appeal, which will benefit Caritas Ukraine, will provide food, drinking water, safe accommodation, and hygiene kits to those who were impacted by the conflict. Additionally, the money raised will assist with safe transportation for those who are looking to reach their loved ones in safe areas.

“The events which began early this morning will inevitably lead to a colossal humanitarian catastrophe,” Tetiana Stawnychy, the president of Caritas Ukraine, said in a statement announcing the appeal.

“It is impossible to believe that in the 21st century in the center of Europe people have to wake up at 5 a.m. from explosions and the sound of air raid sirens,” she added. “We need your support to have a chance to respond to the humanitarian crisis and assist the people affected by war.”

The papal agency where I work, Catholic Near East Welfare Association, has also issued an appeal: 

The story is changing by the hour. But what we cannot change is our deep commitment to help innocent people whose lives are in danger.

We are collaborating with our partners on the ground to serve those who are at risk. In addition to the people serving the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, CNEWA works closely with Caritas Ukraine, which is mobilizing to serve an influx of displaced families, creating field kitchens to help with humanitarian aid, medical help or spiritual and psychological support, should the need arise.

Meanwhile, there is this message of resilience and hope:

As Russia fired missiles on several Ukrainian cities and Russian troops reportedly landed in Odessa, the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church affirmed the right of Ukrainians to defend their homeland and assured his people that God would watch over them.

“At this historic moment, the voice of our conscience calls us all as one to stand up for a free, united and independent Ukrainian state,” said Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, in a statement to his people Feb. 24.

The archbishop was supposed to be in Florence, Italy, for a meeting with other bishops from Europe and around the Mediterranean, which Pope Francis was scheduled to address Feb. 27. Instead, Archbishop Shevchuk stayed in Kyiv with his people.

In a letter to the bishops in Florence, the archbishop said Ukraine was defending European values “at the cost of the blood of its children” and the whole country risked becoming “a death camp” because of Russian aggression. He pleaded with the bishops to pressure their governments to “help us defend peace in Ukraine and in Europe.”

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