Message from Bishop Marcus – Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis

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Over the past few days, we have heard distressing news about the war in Ukraine and seen the
harrowing pictures of the destruction and the humanitarian crisis that the conflict is causing.
Over one million people have fled from danger. Families have been torn apart and for those
remaining, their living conditions deteriorate by the hour.

Our first response as Catholics must be to pray earnestly for the suffering people of Ukraine and
for those who have had to leave their homes to seek a safe refuge for themselves and their
family. We must also pray for peace with all our hearts.

Service of Prayer for Ukraine
I wish to let you know that a Service of Prayer for Ukraine will be held at Leeds Cathedral on
Thursday 10th March 2022 at 10:30am. I will be joined at this service by the Lord Mayor of Leeds,
Cllr Asghar Khan, and other members of Leeds City Council, as well as representatives of other
Christian denominations and religious faiths. I extend an invitation to anyone who wishes to
attend, particularly those who live in the City of Leeds and those who are who are members of
the Ukrainian community. It will be a simple service of readings, prayers and music, with the
Lord Mayor giving an address. Please do advertise this event in the most appropriate ways
you can given the short notice.

In addition to our prayer, we also need to ask ourselves, ‘What can I do?’

What can we do?
Aid agencies have found themselves overwhelmed by donations in kind and so are now
specifically asking for financial donations only. We can help therefore by:

Donating through CAFOD and the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Appeal
The DEC have launched an appeal for humanitarian support. The UK government will match
any donations collected through members of the DEC like our own Catholic Agency, CAFOD,
who are a part of this group. Your donation could also be eligible for Gift Aid. To donate, please
go to: https://cafod.org.uk/Give/Donate-to-Emergencies/Ukraine-Humanitarian-Appeal

Donating through Caritas Internationalis
Caritas Ukraine has ‘requested that Caritas Internationalis hold income for the emergency
appeal for onward transfer at its request.’ This is due to the uncertain banking and access
arrangements in Ukraine and to allow monies to support refugees in other countries. Therefore,
we are encouraging those who wish to, to donate online to Caritas Internationalis, to speed up
the process and ensure funds are being given to legitimate organisations through the Caritas
federation.

Donating to Catholic Care to support our ongoing local work
As the principal expression of Caritas in the Diocese of Leeds, Catholic Care’s mission is to
deliver care and support to those who are disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised in the
Diocese. While our work is not international, we are working with the Home Office and various
partners to be in a position to welcome Ukrainian refugee families and those affected by war
into our communities. You can donate online at: JustGiving

Registering an interest as a Community Group to welcome a refugee family
On the 1st March the Home Secretary announced that there will be new routes introduced for
Ukrainians seeking sanctuary, potentially through agencies like Catholic Care who are already
Lead Sponsors and work with parishes to ‘sponsor’ and welcome a family. At the current time
details are limited, however, we anticipate this will be similar to the scheme currently operated
for refugees from Syria. If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, please contact our
Community Sponsorship Co-ordinator, Email: sue.parsons@catholic-care.org.uk

Supporting the work of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)
ACN is providing emergency help to the suffering Church in Ukraine. If you would like to learn
more about their charitable work, you can find all the latest information here: https://acnuk.org/
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Peace, intercede with her Son, the
Prince of Peace, for the sake of the peoples of Ukraine here in our country and in their beloved
homeland.

 

Update 23 March 2022

As an acknowledged Principle Sponsor by the Home Office for our continuing work in welcoming refugee families through the Community Sponsorship Scheme, Catholic Care has the experience to support the welcome of Ukrainian Refugees and their families.  We are currently working on becoming a “Strategic Partner” which will enable us to welcome as a minimum 50 refugee families.  It is very frustrating that the process takes so long but we have to work with the system to ensure that when the refugees arrive they are not only welcomed into a home but have access to healthcare, schools etc as a minimum.,  We are hopeful that we are nearing people arriving with each passing day.

 

 

Marcus Stock
Bishop of Leeds & Chairman of Catholic Care
4th March 2022

A PRAYER FOR UKRAINE
Loving God,
We pray for the people of Ukraine,
for all those suffering or afraid,
that you will be close to them and protect them.
We pray for world leaders,
for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices.
We pray for the world
that in this moment of crisis,
we may reach out in solidarity
to our brothers and sisters in need.
May we walk in your ways
so that peace and justice
become a reality for the people of Ukraine
and for all the world. Amen.