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Catholics in Southeast Asia pray, mobilize aid for Ukraine

Caritas Malaysia has launched a special charity fund in collaboration with Caritas Internationalis

Catholics in Southeast Asia pray, mobilize aid for Ukraine

Ukrainian refugees arrive in Slovakia after fleeing Russia's invasion. (Photo: Tony Fric/Caritas Slovakia)

Published: March 22, 2022 06:04 AM GMT

Updated: March 22, 2022 12:45 PM GMT

Catholics in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei have united in prayer for the end of war and suffering of people in Ukraine and started mobilizing aid to the Eastern European nation reeling from the deadly Russian invasion.

As a gesture of solidarity with Ukraine, a Malaysian bishop has appealed to Catholics and non-Catholics in the country and region to contribute to a charity fund to be sent to the war-torn country.

“Together we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and pray for peace," said Bishop Bernard Paul of Melaka-Johor Diocese, president of Caritas Malaysia.

Bishop Paul has invited all Malaysians to "support Ukraine, where millions of people have fled and are displaced, where there are wounded, dead and missing, including children,” Vatican’s Fides news agency reported on March 21.

Malaysian bishops have declared March 25 as a day of special prayer of consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Virgin Mary, as announced by Pope Francis.

Meanwhile, Caritas Malaysia has launched a special charity fund in collaboration with Caritas Internationalis, the global confederation of Catholic charities, to mobilize humanitarian aid for Ukraine such as food, drinking water, accommodation and hygiene kits for communities displaced by the war.

“The Catholic Church in this region is deeply concerned over the war in Ukraine and its impact on global peace and justice, affecting the lives of peoples everywhere” 

Caritas is coordinating collection of donations from churches in the region and working closely with the Ukraine embassy in Malaysia to send aid, especially medical aid.

"The world is deeply concerned about the war in Ukraine,", said Bishop Paul, urging all Malaysians to help with material and spiritual assistance to victims of the war.

Earlier this month, Catholic bishops in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei issued a pastoral letter to express their deep concerns about the war.

“The Catholic Church in this region is deeply concerned over the war in Ukraine and its impact on global peace and justice, affecting the lives of peoples everywhere,” the regional bishops’ conference said in the letter issued on March 2.

“The history and causes of war may be complex, but wars in the long term do not benefit anyone, including us.” 

On Ash Wednesday, Catholics in the region flocked to churches to pray and express solidarity with Ukraine.

The United Nations has confirmed at least 900 civilian deaths in Ukraine amid widespread destruction caused by indiscriminate bombings and shelling of Ukrainian cities including capital Kyiv since the start of the Russian invasion Feb. 24. However, the UN says it believes the actual death toll is “considerably higher.”

An estimated 3.4 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries including Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, according to the UN refugee agency.

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