The flow of aid continues in solidarity with Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war and with many others who remain at home and are being helped by the friars of our five friaries in Ukraine.
As the armed conflict rages, the Franciscan Missionary Center in Rome has created a bridge between Italy and Ukraine, through the non-profit “Aiutiamoli a Vivere” [Let’s Help Them Live] Foundation in Terni, Italy, and the Caritas Pacea Foundation run by our friars in Romania. The friars in Romania are closely monitoring contact with our friaries in Ukraine to make sure the humanitarian aid arrives safely.
The Missionary Center has already sent sums of money in euros collected from benefactors. In addition, various companies have responded to the appeal for aid, in particular, the Fiasconaro Brothers pastry company in Sicily, which sent 10,000 panettones and Easter doves [forms of Italian sweet bread]. The large shipment was transported in two trucks which passed through Romania and entered Poland. From there, it went to one of our friaries in Ukraine. In addition to the panettones, there were also thousands of jars of jam donated by the Rigoni di Asiago company.
These products are also augmenting the refectory of fifteen orphans from Ukraine. The orphanage is being supported by the “Aiutiamoli a Vivere” Foundation operating out of our friary in Cattolica, Italy. Assistance is also being provided by two nuns from Ukraine, both members of the Incarnate Word Institute in Bagnoregio, Italy. During Pope Francis’ audience at the Vatican, on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, these orphans got to hug the Holy Father who extended a warm greeting to them and to the many other Ukrainian children being hosted in Italy.
Additional aid shipments of basic necessities have been made possible thanks to some projects of our friars in Ukraine, financed by the Missionary Center, and also due to donations by individual benefactors.
Friar Paolo FIASCONARO, Director of the Missionary Center