Churches in Ireland mobilize to support the Ukrainian people

Thirty-six Catholic religious congregations in the state donated 450 rooms in convents, retreat centers, former student housing and homes for Ukrainian refugees.

The Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland, which represents more than 120 religious congregations, is in talks with the Department of Children and the Irish Refugee Council about its offers.

“We have also received offers to teach English and many religious schools have already taken in Ukrainian children,” said David Rose, general secretary of Amri.

Some congregations in the state are also fundraising or sending aid directly to communities on the Ukrainian border, he said: “We are all praying for peace.”

Many Amri congregations have “communities in Ukraine and Poland, and hear firsthand the devastating impact of war”, and have opened churches, monasteries and convents to welcome refugees.

Last month, the Catholic bishops said they were in contact with the Department for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to seek advice on how parishes and dioceses could help.

The Church of Ireland Councils are to make available St. George and St. Thomas Church in Dublin city center as a hub and cultural center to help Ukrainian refugees.

The Church of Ireland church on Cathal Brugha St “will become a center of warmth, welcome and activity for those arriving in Ireland from Ukraine”, a spokeswoman said.

Her Dublin and Glendalough dioceses also urged all parishes “to focus on starting our fundraising campaign throughout Holy Week and Easter,” she said.

“Funds are needed to upgrade kitchens and toilets in St George and St Thomas to ensure they are suitable for use by members of the Ukrainian community,” she said.

Calling for Holy Week, the Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, said it was time to put “desperation aside” and welcome Ukrainian refugees who have not “had no choice but to flee their homes”.

“We cannot be morally neutral”

Recalling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s speech at Oireachtas Houses on Wednesday, the Archbishop said, “As Christians, we cannot be morally neutral.”

The Church of Ireland has also decided “to sponsor a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox tradition and thus provide pastoral and liturgical ministry to Ukrainians who have come to Ireland as displaced persons”.

The appeal from the Church’s bishops is releasing an additional €75,000 to Christian Aid and Habitat for Humanity to help Ukraine and neighboring countries, bringing its total aid to €93,000.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has released €72,350 (£60,000) to be split between its humanitarian and development partners Christian Aid (Ireland) and Tearfund to help the people of Ukraine.

The church’s moderator, the Reverend Dr David Bruce, issued a Moderator’s Appeal to help with the relief effort and appealed to members across Ireland to donate generously. The Methodist Church in Ireland has sent €32,900 (£27,500) to the United Methodist Church in Poland to support its work with Ukrainian refugees.

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