Bishop Alan announced: “As a Diocese we are offering our prayer and fasting on Ash Wednesday for the people of Ukraine and peace in the present crisis.
“I have also asked the parishes to make their donations through Aid to the Church in Need for Ukraine – money which will go directly to Ukraine and not to the general fund of the charity. They will also be collecting Lenten Alms for this crisis and for the many refugees.”
“Let us use these forty days of Lent to turn our lives around once again towards God,” said the bishop in his homily, “and to put him and our neighbour before ourselves.
“We do so, as Jesus teaches us in the Gospel, through fasting and penance; through prayer; through works of charity and mercy; through repairing our friendship with God and each other in the Sacrament of Confession.”
Aid to the Church in Need is committing 1 million euros towards emergency aid to support the work of the Church in Ukraine. The emergency aid will meet essential needs, including heating, lighting, water and food.
Bishop Pavlo Honcharuk of Kharkiv, one of the dioceses in eastern Ukraine that ACN is supporting, said: “The situation is getting worse every day. Prices are rising, especially for essential goods.” The bishop recently sent a videoclip to ACN showing badly damaged apartment blocks. “Those were flats,” he said. “All the windows were blown out. Many people were killed.”
You can donate online to Aid to the Church in Need’s Ukraine appeal here.
Yuriy, a Ukrainian parishioner from St Olga’s in Peterborough, said: “We have been so touched by the support we are receiving. Thank you so much for every donation, big or little. We have tears in our eyes at such a reaction.”
Above is Bishop Alan distributing ashes at St John’s Cathedral. Below is St Olga’s Ukrainian Church in Peterborough (image from Yuriy). St Olga’s belongs to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is in communion with Rome.