Five months after the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) takes stock of the support sent to the country: over seven million AUD in emergency aid and other initiatives in total to help the Catholic Church of both rites in its gargantuan effort to remain with its people.
Following initial immediate aid packages, the foundation has pledged a further 3.6 million AUD over the past three months, from May to July to help the Church in Ukraine. With the approval in July of 34 new projects, support provided by ACN has reached over seven million in 2022.
Thanks to its generous benefactors, the Australian office of ACN has contributed over $360,000 of this support for Ukraine.
“The worst consequences of the war will not be felt in the short-term: the psychological, physical and humanitarian effects will only become apparent later. Only God can heal the deeper wounds, but we can try to soften the more immediate needs and support the local Church so that it can remain on the ground,” says Thomas Heine-Geldern, executive president of ACN International.
ACN’s support to Ukraine has been distributed as follows:
- 4.7 million AUD in emergency and subsistence aid, divided as follows:
- 1.9 million AUD sent to the ecclesiastical districts in Ukraine, right after the outbreak of the war, to offset the most urgent needs in each and every one of them.
- 1.2 million AUD in aid to Ukrainian priests, in the form of mass stipends to cover, for example, subsistence costs, travel and their pastoral and social work.
- 954,000 AUD towards a total of 14 projects, to enable dioceses and religious orders to host internally displaced people in parishes, convents, seminaries, etc.
- 660,000 AUD for subsistence aid, in 17 projects, especially for the male and female religious and to support elderly or sick nuns.
- 1.6 million AUD, in a total of 23 projects, towards construction, restoration and refurbishing of buildings, such as the repairs to the seminary in Vorzel, on the outskirts of Kyiv, which was looted in the first phase of the war, or the purchase of 17 generators.
- 881,000 AUD to purchase 29 vehicles, a priority at this time, since humanitarian aid has to be transported long distances over roads that are in poor condition or destroyed.
- 148,000 AUD for 21 small pastoral projects, for example, 60 Mass cases for liturgical celebrations, and training and media projects.
Thanks to the generosity of ACN benefactors from all over the world, the foundation is helping to ease the burdens of the people in Ukraine.
“The Church is the anchor that keeps the boat steady through the changing tides,” says Magda Kaczmarek who has headed the foundation’s Projects in Ukraine for the past 14 years. “The main concern and fear that everybody feels has to do with the coming of winter, but now they are also worried that by the end of August the shortage of food and fuel will have become even more serious,” she explains.
Founded in 1947 as a Catholic organisation to aid war refugees, and recognised as a Pontifical charity in 2011, ACN is dedicated to the service of Christians all over the world, wherever they suffer from persecution, discrimination or material needs, through prayer, information, and charity.
With delegations in 23 countries, ACN approves an average of 6,000 projects every year in around 150 countries, all thanks to private donations since the organisation does not receive any state help.
In Australia, donations can be made online at: www.aidtochurch.org/ukraine by telephone on 1800 101 201, or by post to PO Box 335 Penrith NSW 2751.
With thanks to Aid to the Church in Need Australia.