The Brooklyn Diocese, in partnership with the Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn and Queens, has joined the citywide effort to provide relief for Ukraine, launching a special fundraiser to aid refugees fleeing the war.
New York City, home to the largest Ukrainian population in the US, has become a major hub of support since the beginning of the Russian invasion late last month. From the Ukrainian enclave Brighton Beach to Greenpoint, Brooklynites are rallying for peace and raising money to ease the suffering of people fleeing the conflict.
“We have all seen the painful images of devastation and continue to hear of the suffering and the deaths caused by the war in Ukraine,” said Robert Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn. “We pray for peace and join with our Holy Father, and people throughout the world, in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.”
With collections being taken at churches across Brooklyn and Queens and online, the money raised by the church will be sent directly to Ukraine to be distributed on arrival to best help those affected.
Brennan visited a Roman Catholic Church in Brighton Beach days after the invasion began in February, taking part in a special mass held in Ukrainian and praying for an end to the conflict.
“We gather to pray; we pray, we pour out our hearts to God, we ask for His protection over the country of Ukraine, over all the people and especially over all your family members, we pray,” he said to parishioners. “My heart breaks with your heart, but we are filled with that same sense of hope, and that hope comes to us because of Jesus Christ, who faced evil right in the eyes and rose over sin and death. May God bless you tonight, may God bless all your families in the days to come.”
Since then, Brennan has held a special ceremony to pray for peace in Ukraine, while the diocese’s schools and churches have shown their support – young students at St. Mark’s Catholic Academy in Sheepshead Bay raised more than $2,000 for Voices of Children, an organization that provides psychological support for children affected by conflict. For some, the fallout of the war is beginning to hit a little closer to home — the newest student at St. Athanasius Catholic Academy in Bensonhurst recently arrived in Brooklyn with his family after fleeing Ukraine.
Next week, Williamsburg’s Church of the Annunciation will be lit up in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, as Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello leads a prayer and spiritual reflection with filmmaker and human rights activist Jason Jones.
Donate to the diocese’s fund online at catholicfoundationbq.org/ukraine/.