As the war in Ukraine rages on, so too does the humanitarian crisis it has caused, with the UN now reporting as many as 12 million people having fled their homes due to the conflict (including 6.5 million people thought to be displaced inside the war-torn Ukraine itself). On the ground from the first moments of the war, missionary groups in Ukraine and bordering countries, including many Misean Cara members, have been providing aid and assistance to fleeing refugees as well as civilians who have remained in place in Ukraine
A feature article in the April 7th issue of the Irish Catholic News provides a starkly realistic picture of what life is like for missionaries working in a war zone to stay and support the civilians caught up in the hostilities as well as those fleeing to the borders. In a special interview for the article, Fr. Roman Sikon of the Salesians Don Bosco, shared his experiences with the journalist during a phone interview from a town just outside Lviv in Ukraine. He recounts his experiences in the weeks since the war began, including his journeys driving a truck to and from the Polish border to transport aid and supplies, amidst active fighting between armed groups. He recounts the strength of the ordinary Ukrainian people and the spiritual as well as humanitarian support that he and other missionaries are committed to staying and providing.
“When you can feel the building shaking, the windows shaking [during bombing raids] it makes you scared, but we are with the people here.”-Fr. Roman Sikon, Salesians Don Bosco
Misean Cara CEO John Moffett, also interviewed for the story, explains how well and uniquely placed missionaries are to respond to humanitarian crises, being able, as they are, to tap into a much wider network of local churches, communities, and other faith organisations who can pitch in to help provide shelter, medical aid, blankets, clothes and other necessities. Misean Cara member groups including the Jesuits, Redemptorists, Salesians Don Bosco, Salesian Sisters, Salvatorians, Daughters of Charity, and the Loreto Sisters are all currently operating aid projects in some capacity in and around Ukraine. But the need will be long term, and will continue well after the war has concluded, as stressed by John Moffett in the article, also pointing out that donations of financial support will be critical in helping those affected by the war for years to come.
You can read the full article here.
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