BISHOP of Waterford and Lismore, Alphonsus Cullinan, has invited a Ukrainian family to stay with him at the Bishop’s house for however long they need.
In a message posted online regarding the current situation in the Ukraine, Bishop Phonsie encouraged people to welcome Ukrainian refugees to Ireland and open up our homes to them. Feeling that he had to take the lead on this, he invited a family to stay at his John’s Hill home through the Irish Red Cross.
According to the Bishop everyone is horrified at what we are watching, reading and hearing about the “dreadful war”. He said the focus should not be on the “murky world of international politics”, but rather on the unjust suffering of millions of people across the world, with attention now on the Ukraine.
“We show our love for them, but we must also show our love for the people of Russia, so many of whom are totally opposed to this war, and we must be careful to treat the Russians living in Ireland with respect and care,” he said.
Speaking about what people can do for Ukrainians, Bishop Phonsie said the first thing as Christians to do is to pray.
“We pray for peace to the prince of peace,” he said, while inviting people to gather in their parishes to pray together. He said people can also support Ukrainians in a material sense through monetary donations. Several thousand Euro has already been sent to Bishop Hryhorij Komar, Auxiliary Bishop of Sambir-Drohobych in Ukraine, and he said the diocese would be happy to channel any money to him.
“His diocese has opened up all of the parish buildings, halls, churches etc to refugees, who are pouring in, in their hundreds and in their thousands. They have to be fed and looked after in so many different ways. So he really values our support. And there are organisations like Aid to the Church in Need, Irish Red Cross, Trocaire, and so many other organisations doing, I’m sure, wonderful work on the ground,” he said.
The Bishop is waiting for the Irish Red Cross to respond to his request, like many thousands of Irish people who have been so generous. In the meantime, a large parish house has also been made available in a different part of the Diocese and there is a family arriving in the coming days.
Meanwhile, on Friday the Bishop and priests joined Pope Francis in consecrating Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the Cathedral and other locations on the Feast Day of the Annunciation.