CHICAGO — During a March 25-April 1 trip to Poland along its border with Ukraine, Ukrainian American Catholic Bishop Bohdan J. Danylo planned to meet with charities as well as preach and provide relief refugees and displaced Ukrainian children.
The trip is sponsored by Catholic Extension, a Chicago-based papal missionary society that has supported the Ukrainian Catholic Church in America since 1979 by building churches and funding leaders and ministries.
In a press release, Catholic Extension said Danylo was the first American bishop to travel to the Ukrainian border after the Russian invasion.
Danylo, who leads the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio, planned to distribute funds 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 town of Przemysl, Poland, the bishop’s childhood home, which has become one of the main points entry point for displaced Ukrainians fleeing their country.
“Whatever gifts or donations are given, they will be able to go directly to those who need it the most,” said Danylo, who added, “I believe that prayer is stronger than even flying bullets.
Ukrainian American Catholics have always had close ties to the Catholic Church in Ukraine, whose institutions and leaders are today on the front lines of meeting the humanitarian needs of their war-torn 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 relief efforts for the Ukrainian people, 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 strengthen faith communities and build churches in America’s missionary dioceses, many of which are rural. They cover a large geographical area and have limited human and pastoral resources.