CHICAGO — During a March 25-April 1 trip to Poland along its border with Ukraine, U.S. Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Bohdan J. Danylo planned to meet with charitable organizations as well as minister and provide relief to displaced Ukrainian refugees and children.
The trip is sponsored by Catholic Extension, a Chicago-based papal mission society, which has supported the Ukrainian Catholic Church in America since 1979 by building churches, and funding leaders and ministries.
In a news release, Catholic Extension said Danylo is the first U.S. bishop to travel to the Ukrainian border following the Russian invasion.
Danylo, who heads the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio, planned to distribute fund donated by Catholic Extension and other benefactors to various organizations helping Ukrainian refugees.
He will meet with clergy and volunteers who distribute food and medicine, including those in the border city of Przemysl, Poland, the bishop’s childhood home, which has become one of the main ports of entry for displaced Ukrainians fleeing their country.
“Whatever gifts or donations are given will be able to go directly to those who are the most in need,” said Danylo, who added, “I believe that prayer is stronger than even bullets that are flying over.”
Ukrainian American Catholics have always maintained strong ties with the Catholic Church in Ukraine, whose institutions and leaders are today on the front lines addressing the humanitarian needs of their war-ravaged people.
“The church in Ukraine is connected to the people,” the bishop said. “They will need our help, unfortunately, I think for a long time.”
Catholic Extension has launched an emergency fund to support efforts to help the people of Ukraine, which includes Ukrainian nuns and priests working to shelter, feed and evacuate vulnerable families and children.
Founded in 1905, Catholic Extension raises funds to help build up faith communities and construct churches in U.S. mission dioceses, many of which are rural. They cover a large geographic area and have limited personnel and pastoral resources.