Bishop Ken Nowakowski spoke about the ways the UGCC in England helps Ukraine and refugees
He said this in an interview with the Information Department of the UGCC.
Speaking about Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, the Ukrainian bishop in the UK claims that he cannot believe that what is happening in our time can really happen. "I think no one could believe that such a situation could have developed in Europe of the XXI century," he says.
According to him, Ukraine and Ukrainians would need help for a long time to come. "We understand that we all have to work now. Even if peace comes tomorrow, it will take us many more years to provide assistance to Ukraine for its development, but also to support people, to show that God loves them, that they are not alone, and that they can count on our help," Bishop Ken notes.
In times of war and healing the wounds caused by it, he believes the Church should be together with its faithful.
In the interview, the bishop spoke about the diplomatic efforts of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Ukrainian community in the UK, initiatives to support people who come to the United Kingdom because of the war, as well as prayer and humanitarian actions. Bishop Ken shared details of the visits of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the Ukrainian Catholic Department in London on February 27 and Prince Charles and Duchess Camila on March 2.
"He [Boris Johnson] really came to our cathedral, prayed with us, had the opportunity to communicate with people who were at the service. Then there was a private conversation with him. It was very interesting. He asked what, in my opinion, he should know about the situation in Ukraine, about the situation of Ukrainians in Great Britain and the United Kingdom as a representative of the state... We explained that this [Russian invasion on February 24] is not the beginning of the war — it has been going on for 8 years, and on February 24 there was a major attack. This is very important because since then, almost every week, we have had a meeting in Westminster in the government about how we can provide assistance in England, Wales, and Scotland to those who come to us, what are the difficulties and challenges with this, in particular regarding visas," the Bishop said.
Later it became known that both Prince Charles of Wales and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, want to come to pray and meet with Ukrainians: children from a Ukrainian school, public figures, and figures of Ukrainian Churches. "They arrived, and we greeted them at our Cathedral," Bishop Ken said. "Then we had tea with Prince Charles and his wife, and they had the opportunity to talk to each group. They brought with them representatives of four or five charities patronized by Prince Charles. We sang the Ukrainian national anthem, and Prince Charles sang it with us. And when he left the hall, he said: "Glory to Ukraine!". You can imagine what emotions there were! Then he and his wife returned to the Cathedral, lit candles, and prayed privately."
"It was a good promotion for us and for Ukraine," the Bishop believes, " people began to understand who we are, where and what we are doing. Other organizations have started asking how they can provide assistance. And then the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of the Most Holy Family in London, together with the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB), created Ukrainian Welcome Center — coordination center for assistance to Ukraine".
With its parishes in England, Scotland and Wales, the Diocese of the Blessed family has about 30 places where it accepts displaced persons, has sponsors and a website with information for those who have arrived or are going to come. The Сhurch also helps newly arrived Ukrainians register for hospitals, schools, and so on.