Ukraine: Europe's churches gather EUR 16 million for affected persons in Donbas

The Pope for Ukraine Initiative was implemented in Europe to help victims of hostilities in the east of Ukraine on the initiative of Pope Francis.

As Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti said at a press conference, the total amount of EUR 16 million was collected for the campaign, a Ukrinform journalist reports.

“The Pope wanted that the manner in which this aid would be distributed was special. On Sunday, during the Angel of the Lord prayer, the Pope said from a window of his apostolic palace that there would be a fundraising ... The fundraising was carried out in all churches in Europe. And the result was extremely generous: more than 11 million euros, to which the Pope has added another 5 million from his personal funds. These funds were transferred by each local bishop to the nuncio of the given country, the nuncios passed these funds to Rome, and then they were transferred to us. And during the whole period, these funds were redistributed or allocated with the permission of His Eminence, Cardinal Turkson,” said Gugerotti.

He emphasized that the Pope for Ukraine Initiative was launched in order to prevent Ukrainians from feeling lonely and abandoned and was targeted at those affected by the war in the east.

“We would like to do certain things that would last, had their continuation in time, but the fundamental goal was to guarantee these people the opportunity to experience some special moments,” said Gugerotti.

According to him, the campaign in Ukraine lasted for two years. Jan Sobilo, the Bishop of the Kharkiv-Zaporizhzhya diocese and Lviv Archdiocese Bishop Eduard Kava were responsible for its implementation.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, said that a visit to Ukraine was due to see how the Pope for Ukraine realized this initiative and to formally complete it.

“We visited a lot of different places. We received quite good explanations of how the work was done. I would like to reiterate the desire of the Pope to help everyone and to cooperate with everyone because the church never makes a distinction between people,” said Cardinal Turkson.

Assistance was provided in various areas: healthcare, food and personal care, house warming, psychosocial support, etc.

The initiative covered the whole area of ​​combat operations and adjacent territories, as well as regions with the largest concentration of internally displaced persons, namely, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Kyiv region and the City of Kyiv.

“First of all, there is a desire to address the cause that provokes such a situation. Of course, if we were able to make it possible to return to a situation where everyone lived in peace, that would be perfect. To do this, we continually pray that peace may come. And in the current situation – this assistance is that first gesture. And in order to plan in what way further assistance is to be provided, we should first of all contact the local Church in order to be able to plan a mission for the future,” said Cardinal Turkson, answering the question whether the initiative would be continued. (Quelle: www.risu.org.ua, 17. Novmeber 2018)

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