Bishop Jan Sobilo tells about distributing Pope’s aid in eastern Ukraine

“For over six months the committee is working in the east of Ukraine,” sayd Bishop Jan Sobilo. “We help the neediest, as Pope Francis requested, especially those affected by the war that is ongoing in eastern Ukraine. First and foremost are products, food, medicine and shelter. We are trying to find apartments and pay for temporary accommodation to the people who cannot return to their homes, because their homes have been destroyed. There are lots of needy as a result of the war and the economic crisis that engulfed the whole of Ukraine, not only in the east.

People are fleeing from Ukraine due to problems in finding work, maintaining their families. The children do not see prospects either. Numerous people are counting on aid now. During the winter the needy were provided with furnace stoves, firewood, coal, as near the frontline there are cities where there is no light, no gas. We have to buy cars of wholesale fuel and distribute them through various organizations. Especially to the families where there are small children. We hope that it will become warmer during the summer and we will get ready to a similar action to heat homes.

We find the needy through organizations that monitor the frontline areas. The needy also apply directly to us. We are aware that not everyone knows that there is such aid, therefore of great importance is the support of the organizations that travel from village to village, from town to town, see the needy and to know what they specifically need. We try to help on both sides of the frontline, although we give more help to those who stay in the territory controlled by Ukraine. We also deliver the aid to the poorest through the priests of Donetsk, Luhansk. And there are lots of needy.”

Bishop Jan Sobilo noted the great solidarity between people of different Churches that serve in eastern Ukraine.

“They join efforts in order to really help those in need,” His Excellency said. “There are cases when an Orthodox priest asks a Protestant pastor or a Catholic priest to help convey aid to the faithful of his Church because he is unable to get there. We work together trying not to pay attention who is the one in need, what ideology they live on whose side they are and what church they attend or not. Pope Francis urges us not to pay attention to religious affiliation of the needy. We must help everyone. And the needs are numerous. We think to help in a way that the needy could continue earning independently. These projects are aimed at funding of initiatives. It can be sowing seed, potatoes for planting, chickens that will grow until fall. That is helping people do something on their own.

The funds are still coming, Pope Francis does not abandon Ukraine. The work of the Technical Committee, which transfers aid, is highly relevant, and we pray that the people of Western Europe did not leave Eastern Ukraine without help. Pope Francis, being the highest moral authority in the world, is the one through whom people are willing to send aid.”

Source: website of Lviv Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine

Translation: Pope for Ukraine