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US gov’t urged to help Ukrainians, work with agencies ‘on the ground’

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WASHINGTON — Amid the growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ International Policy Committee has urged the U.S. government “to provide all possible assistance to the Ukrainian people and to work closely with faith partners who are already on the ground providing emergency assistance.

Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops‘ Committee on International Justice and Peace, released the statement March 4.

He also encouraged everyone “to give generously to organizations such as Catholic Relief Services and the USCCB Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe which bring tangible relief and the hope of Christ to those who need”.

Donations to CRS, the American Bishops’ Overseas Relief and Development Agency, can be made at bit.ly/3KhEvFv. Information on how to donate to the USCCB collection is available at usccb.org/committees/church-central-eastern-europe.

“On February 24, the world watched in horror as Russia launched airstrikes and began bombing Ukraine,” Bishop Malloy said. “The death toll is already in the hundreds, if not thousands, and growing. More than a million Ukrainians have already fled the fighting to neighboring European countries and millions more could become refugees.

In this time of crisis, he said, the U.S. bishops “echo Pope Francis’ call for those who have the political responsibility to seriously examine their conscience before God, who is the God of peace and not war… who wants us to be brothers and not enemies.”

“We join the Holy Father in praying that ‘all parties concerned refrain from any action that would cause further suffering to the people, destabilize coexistence between nations and bring international law into disrepute,’” Bishop Malloy said.

“We also join in solidarity with the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches and the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States who are all united in prayer for their people and their homeland,” he added.

The Knights of Columbus fraternal organization, based in Hartford, Conn., is among American groups that have launched humanitarian initiatives for Ukraine and its people.

The Knights committed $1 million Feb. 25 for immediate distribution to support Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion and also launched the Ukrainian Solidarity Fund, pledging to match all funds raised up to $500,000. additional $.

As of March 2, the fund has raised over $747,000, for a total of over $2.2 million in assistance; 100 percent of donations are used to help internally displaced people and refugees from Ukraine, according to a press release from the Knights.

He said the funds are being used to provide shelter, food, medical supplies, clothing and religious goods, as well as other identified humanitarian needs, both directly in Ukraine and through refugee sites in Poland.

“Some of the proudest moments in the history of the Order have come in the midst of the adversity of war,” Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly said in a video message to the more than 1,800 Knights of Columbus in Ukraine today. February 25. a pattern. There’s a reason we count patriotism among our guiding principles. The time has come.

In Poland, among other efforts, local Knights set up tents on the Polish-Ukrainian border to distribute food and water to refugees; established collection sites in selected cities for medical supplies, warm clothing and basic necessities; and created a database of parish houses and parish centers that will host refugees.

“Polish Knights and their families have already taken in and housed wives and children sent by some Ukrainian Knights across the border,” the press release reads.