U.S. Ukrainian Catholic bishop visits refugees at Polish-Ukrainian border

CHICAGO (CNS) — During a March 25-April 1 trip to Poland along its border with Ukraine, U.S. Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Bohdan J. Danylo planned to meet with charitable organizations as well as minister and provide relief to displaced Ukrainian refugees and children.

Ukrainian refugees are seen at a train station in Krakow, Poland, March 28, 2022. (CNS photo/courtesy Catholic Extension)

The trip is sponsored by Catholic Extension, a Chicago-based papal mission society, which has supported the Ukrainian Catholic Church in America since 1979 by building churches, and funding leaders and ministries.

In a news release, Catholic Extension said Bishop Danylo is the first U.S. bishop to travel to the Ukrainian border following the Russian invasion.

Bishop Danylo, who heads the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio, planned to distribute fund donated by Catholic Extension and other benefactors to various organizations helping Ukrainian refugees.

He will meet with clergy and volunteers who distribute food and medicine, including those in the border city of Przemysl, Poland, the bishop’s childhood home, which has become one of the main ports of entry for displaced Ukrainians fleeing their country.

“Whatever gifts or donations are given will be able to go directly to those who are the most in need,” said Bishop Danylo, who added, “I believe that prayer is stronger than even bullets that are flying over.”

Bishop Bohdan J. Danylo of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio, blesses a Ukrainian baby who is a refugee after Mass in Gdansk, Poland, March 28, 2022. (CNS photo/courtesy Catholic Extension)

Ukrainian American Catholics have always maintained strong ties with the Catholic Church in Ukraine, whose institutions and leaders are today on the front lines addressing the humanitarian needs of their war-ravaged people.

“The church in Ukraine is connected to the people,” the bishop said. “They will need our help, unfortunately, I think for a long time.”

Catholic Extension has launched an emergency fund to support efforts to help the people of Ukraine, which includes Ukrainian nuns and priests working to shelter, feed and evacuate vulnerable families and children. Donations can be made online at catholicextension.org/ukraine.

Founded in 1905, Catholic Extension raises funds to help build up faith communities and construct churches in U.S. mission dioceses, many of which are rural. They cover a large geographic area and have limited personnel and pastoral resources.

Author: Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ news and information service.

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