Ukrainian crisis: ACN sends mass allowances to support priests
Britain’s Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) office is sending over a quarter of a million pounds in mass grants to support Ukrainian priests caring for a beleaguered and bombarded population.
The charity is providing £273,940 (€326,724) in Mass offerings, which will provide a lifeline for priests and those they care for.
Throughout the country, more than 37,500 masses will be offered for the intentions of the association’s benefactors.
Archbishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki of Lviv has written to ACN highlighting the pressing needs of his archdiocese.
He wrote: “This time I come back with an urgent request. Our archdiocese is in a difficult situation…. and we cannot expect any financial help from our faithful… Our priests have no income, except for Mass intentions, which are generally their only income”.
The stipends will help priests carry out their ministry in an increasingly demanding situation as Russian forces attempt to capture key towns across the country.
In and around the capital kyiv, where residential areas were hit by Russian airstrikes yesterday (Monday, March 14), 6,422 masses will be said by 216 diocesan priests and seven seminary tutors from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Churches and Roman Catholic.
In Monday’s airstrike, a nine-story building in the kyiv suburb of Obolon was hit, killing one resident and injuring several others.
Priests have continued to minister to the faithful as bombs from Russian Federation forces fall on the city.
Father Mateusz, of St Anthony’s RC Church, is the shepherd of a small community that has been hiding underground in Kyiv since the attacks. He told ACN: “We are already more than 30 here, including some children, and we experience the presence of God accompanying us every day… Every day we pray together and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director of ACN (UK), stressed the importance of Mass Grants in helping priests caring for those caught up in war.
He said: “Mass offerings have always been a chain of love between benefactors in the UK and priests serving the Church of Christ – but as war burns ever hotter in Ukraine, these stipends are a symbol of spiritual solidarity. I thank the kind benefactors of ACN whose Mass intentions are making a real difference in this horrible conflict.”
According to the charity’s 2021 annual report, nearly 1.8 million masses were celebrated for the intentions of its benefactors in 2020, meaning the charity was able to help one in nine priests in the world, a total of 414,065.
Aid to the Church in Need – www.acnuk.org
Key words: Ukraine, Aid to the Church in Need, ACN, Bishop Mieczysław Mokrzycki, Neville Kyrke-Smith
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