Redemptorists cooperate in organising humanitarian aid for Ukraine

Ukraine bild 3-2

Poland: Province of Warsaw

Message received from Fr. Janusz Sok, C.Ss.R., Provincial Superior, dated Ash Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

7th day of war…

“When refugees started arriving in Poland from Ukraine, so many Poles rushed to the border with hearts on their sleeves to do anything, that traffic jams also formed in the direction from west to east” – this is how one journalist described the situation at the border.

There is indeed a great stir among the people rushing to help. People are opening their hearts and the doors of their houses to Ukrainians fleeing war. As Pope Francis said today on Ash Wednesday, they are generously offering them everything they need “so that they can live with dignity, despite the drama of the present moment”.

We have also taken many actions. We are in constant contact with our Redemptorist confreres and Redemptorist nuns contemplative and active in Ukraine. So far, everyone is safe, although two communities are in a battle zone. They know that we are ready to receive them at any moment, but they want to remain with their parishioners, families, relatives, friends at this dramatic time. We understand this and admire their courage and will to defend freedom and national existence!

Our communities have declared their readiness to receive refugees. Some have already welcomed the first of them, and one of our houses is reserved for children from a Ukrainian orphanage. Many people connected to our houses and parishes are also awaiting the arrival of the refugees. We are working with “Caritas Poland” so that the Ukrainians can reach their new homes and end their few days of wandering.

Fundraising efforts have begun throughout Poland. Humanitarian, psychological, legal, and other aid is being organized. In our churches, treasury boxes have been set up, and information about how to help and where to transfer money to help suffering Ukraine has been displayed. We have also started cooperation with Redemptorists in Europe, who organize all the aid, which later will be sent from Poland to Ukraine. We also cooperate with other institutions and organizations. Similar activities are being undertaken by confreres in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

According to today’s data [March 02], more than 450 000 Ukrainians have already arrived in Poland during the six days of the war. And there are still queues of many kilometres on the Ukrainian side of the border.

These actions are accompanied by constant prayer for peace so that the flame of hope for building societies in dialogue and reconciliation is not extinguished.

Ireland: Limerick Redemptorists launch special collection for Ukrainian people

“Limerick Leader” has reported that the local Redemptorist community was appealing for financial support to be given to those displaced in Ukraine due to the ongoing invasion by Russian armed forces. The Irish Redemptorists say they are “deeply perplexed” by the unfolding tragedy impacting the Ukrainian population as citizens courageously defend themselves in inexplicable warfare.

Fr Seamus Enright, C.Ss.R., superior of the Redemptorist community in Limerick, told Live 95 FM that Ukrainian Redemptorists are “about to run out of money”. “We are hoping to raise funds and send those funds to Redemptorists in Ukraine,” he said.

Vienna: Redemptorist solidarity with Ukraine

The Redemptorists in Vienna (together with the Marienpfarre and the Clemens Hofbauer Committee) have been intensifying their aid measures for the confreres in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. In the last few days, 15.000 euros have been collected and transferred online as the first donation to the Redemptorist Province of Lviv; and further help is to follow in the coming days. Fr. Andriy Rak, the Provincial of Ukrainian Redemptorists, who himself completed his studies in Innsbruck, is “concerned about the coming weeks, as the war could intensify further”. He “thanks for all the help from Austria and also asks for prayers”. In this time of need and anxiety, Fr. Andriy observes the “great closeness and trust that people have in the Church.”

Fr. Lorenz Voith, the Rector at Hernals community, coordinates the Vienna aid measures for Ukraine. “In addition to financial help, we also would like to provide accommodation for the anticipated refugees in Vienna. We also intend to co-operate with other Church institutions. Through my visits and contacts with Ukraine over many years, this country with its rich Byzantine tradition has grown very dear to me. Western Ukraine is historically connected to Austria as it was part of the former Austrian monarchy. Over 20 years ago, students from the Lemberg (Lviv) province began studying in Innsbruck; many projects and mutual visits followed. In solidarity with the spirit of St. Clemens Maria Hofbauer (a European saint), we would like to render our help swiftly and intensively from Vienna.

Together with the Redemptorists, the Clemens Hofbauer Committee, the Redemptorist Parish in Hernals and other organizations are involved in this current relief effort. In every holy eucharist, prayers are made for peace.

The Marienpfarre at Hernals, Vienna, has always been at the forefront to care for the refugees. In recent decades, the refugees from Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Syria/Iraq were helped with housing and sustaining for years.

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