Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has provided PPE for the priests as well as 92 seminarians and around 1,000 members of Ukraine’s religious communities.
Father Grzegorz, a Polish priest from Lublin who is now based in Lviv, was able to visit COVID-19 patients twice a week thanks to ACN’s help.
He said: “I visit every room, I bless them and talk to them and try to bring good news. I speak of God’s love…
“The patients have a strong faith. I told them that Jesus Christ is very close to them in their suffering, for he too suffered some of the same symptoms as those fighting this disease, since he too struggled to breathe…”
In nearby Russia, ACN is helping a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts in Sapernoe, led by Father Sergij Belkov, a Russian Orthodox priest who has run the centre since 1996.
The centre has rehabilitated hundreds of young men, with a maximum of 60 accommodated at one time, and has a sister centre in Torfyanoye that helps female addicts.
Speaking to ACN, Father Belkov said: “Thank you to the benefactors of ACN for giving pastoral and practical help…We pray every day for the benefactors – that is a rule.”
The parish priest of St Adalbert’s parish, in Russia’s Kaliningrad region, Father Jerzy Steckiewicz, is building a centre for families in crisis, parishioners and visiting pilgrims.
Father Steckiewicz, an advocate of ecumenism, is planning joint family events for Catholics and Orthodox Christians, and has worked on ACN’s previous ecumenical working group conferences and knows the local Russian Orthodox Metropolitan (Archbishop).
Also supported by ACN were priests in the Diocese of Irkutsk – the largest in the world at 10 million square kilometres – who received help for visits to far-flung parishioners.