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A Cross of Broken Glass for the Pope

Source: RISU.ua (Religion Information Service of Ukraine) February 23, 2023

A note from our chaplain, Fr. Christopher Zugger: Your donations go to help the work of Caritas in the Eparchy (diocese) of Mukachevo in Ukraine. Caritas in Mukachevo assists with the distribution of aid to 300,000 refugees in the Transcarpathian Oblast (state) of Ukraine.


On February 21, Pope Francis received the executive director of the Caritas-Spes Fund of Ukraine, Fr. Vyacheslav Hrynevych. The priest told Vatican News about this meeting and about his symbolic gift to the Holy Father - a cross made of glass fragments of houses destroyed by bombing. Father Vyacheslav noted that the fragments for the cross were collected in the Kyiv region, in places that were bombed in the first days of the war.

"These broken windows symbolize not only the destroyed houses that we are trying to rebuild, but also our hearts, what we have inside. In the center of the cross is a butterfly, a sign of hope, because we are waiting for the resurrection." The priest also handed over to the Pope the text of the Stations of the Cross, compiled by the Ukrainian workers of Caritas-Spes. In these reflections, the real stories of their friends and loved ones are collected: mothers whose sons remained on the battlefields; children who cannot sleep under the bombardment; prayers for nameless people buried in numerous mass graves.

"For us, these burials are holy places," the priest emphasized. Since the beginning of the war, more than 5.3 million people have received help from the Catholic foundation "Caritas" of Ukraine and neighboring countries. Speaking about this ministry, Fr. Vyacheslav Hrynevych said: "For us, international solidarity and unity in responding to humanitarian needs caused by war is very important. It is easier to move forward when you know that you are not alone, and this is a very valuable sign for us. We are on the front line and are always at risk of attack, but we feel united with all the other Caritas workers in Italy and in other countries who work with Ukrainian refugees: we are all going through the same experience. You can say, we are also soldiers, but of a social war. Therefore, I think it is very important for Caritas to be united, and we are not alone.

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