Currents News Staff
The Ukrainian community in Rome has spent all week loading trucks with food and medical supplies to send their country. They fill several a day.
“We are loading the fourth truck and hope to load a fifth today,” said Father Marco, rector of the Basilica of Santa Sofia in Rome. “We want everything we’ve collected to reach Ukraine as quickly as possible so the supplies can be distributed to the people who need them.”
They gather at the Basilica of Santa Sofia, the main church of the Ukrainian Catholic Community in Rome. On Sundays, they pray and hold catechism classes but last week those classes were interrupted when hundreds of people arrived with donations.
“At one point, there were so many people that we had to stop our catechism classes,” said Alessia, a Ukrainian in Rome, “and we all got together, children, teachers and catechists to carry out this service.”
The basilica’s rector says he’s impressed with the response of Ukrainians and Italians who came together thanks to social media.
“They responded with great love for their country and their people,” said Father Marco. “They showed up to volunteer after seeing a very simple petition for help on social media. We weren’t expecting this response. We are very grateful to God and to the Ukrainian and Italian people for their solidarity and fraternity.”
The pontiff heard the call for help and made a donation of medical supplies to them. The Almoner of Papal Charities, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, delivered the Holy Father’s gift of syringes, bandages, and much more to the Basilica on Wednesday.
Alessia is a Ukrainian refugee. She’s been in Rome since 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea. But her family chose to stay in Ukraine. So, understandably, she’s been upset.
“The first two days I was extremely stressed,” Alessia said. “I was crying and almost fell into depression. Now it’s different because I don’t watch the news. I can’t bring myself to watch the news.”
She knows many cities in Ukraine have been reduced to rubble, but that’s not her biggest worry.
“This doesn’t matter,” said Alessia. “The people are what matters. I have many friends who have been underground for four days. It’s terrible because we don’t know how they’re doing. They don’t have Internet access and can’t contact us.”