One hundred and seventy years ago the Russian tsarist regime brutally suppressed the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Volyn (north western part of Ukraine). Some 20 years ago, a serious effort was made to return to the once seized region reestablishing an exarchate in Lutsk and parishes in the Rivno and Lutsk regions. These parishes are only first sprouts of the growing Church there. They may be financially poor, but the faith and reliance on God’s Providence works miracles there.
Ascension of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic parish in Dubno, Rivne region, was registered with the state back in 2006. Today still a relatively small community it has about 140 active members, but their accomplishments are truly impressive. They were able to start and finish building an all new wooden church and a parish rectory as well as landscaping the church property. Stations of the Cross were installed around the church as well as memorial plaques remembering the victims of Holodomor (Famine) and the Heavenly Hundred (one hundred people that died in the revolution of 2014). Today the parish is an active missionary center in Dubno.
Now that the building is up and the parish is growing, much needed attention is given to outreach in the city through the charitable organization, Caritas-Dubno, which was founded in 2013. The main task of the organization is to provide support and help children with special needs, children from very poor families, children who are impaired, orphans and children whose parent(s) have died in the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine. Caritas-Dubno organizes and sponsors various spiritual and personal development programs, art workshops and summer camps.
Here are some large scale projects that Caritas-Dubno does on a regular basis:
“School Bag” project: every August and before a new school year begins the organization solicits funds for the purchase of school supplies, notepads, books and bags to 80 children from very poor families;
“St. Nicholas visits children”: In December, they organize visits with St. Nicholas giving away presents to some 300 orphans, physically impaired and children in foster care;
“Easter Basket”: before Easter it solicits and purchases food for Easter baskets and distributes to poor families and the elderly.
Total cost for all three programs adds up to 130,760 hryvnia or about $5,000 annually.
In 2017, parish youth along with Caritas-Dubno started a new project, “Searching for Talents”. The purpose of this project is to discover gifted children, help them to realize how much God loves them and blesses them with various gifts and talents, which are meant to be shared with others. The cost to have this project is about 38,116 hryvnia or $1,500.
They had so many children audition that the parish facility could not accommodate everyone. So, to help further development, benefactors purchased a spacious building but in very poor shape. The building is being converted into a youth and mission center. Renovations require a considerable investment but it is too much to manage for a small community. Parishioners and people of good faith volunteer to donate labor and do necessary improvements, but they are in need of financial assistance to purchase building supplies and materials. Father Roman Bobesyuk, pastor of the church in Dubno and founding director of Caritas-Dubno, is seeking help with finishing the renovation project so that they can open the new center for the benefit of youth and community. They estimate that they need about 150,000 hryvnia or $5,800 to complete it.
It is a very worthwhile cause and huge help to our Church in the north western regions where it was once flourishing. It would be wonderful to raise at least $5,800 for renovations and perhaps even for furnishings and equipment.
If interested in helping out, you may mail your donations to our chancery, Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, 810 North Franklin Street, Philadelphia PA 19123. Checks are to be made out to SPECIAL NEEDS IN UKRAINE and marked DUBNO. All donations are tax-exempt and receipts will be mailed.
If you would like to help them directly and on a regular basis, please email me for contact information at email@example.com.
Thank you for your time, kindness and generosity!
Apostolic Administrator for the Archeparchy of Philadelphia