A Mass in honor of the persecuted and suffering Church throughout the world – Aid to the Church in Need
“WHEN ONE MEMBER OF CHRIST’S BODY SUFFERS, WE ALL SUFFER,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York proclaimed in his homily during a Mass dedicated to the persecuted Church around the world. In so many places, he continued, there is “evil vitriol against religion.”
The Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York was an initiative of Aid to the Church in Need-USA (ACNUSA), which was represented by staff as well as Board Chairman George Marlin and Board Member Brad Miner . Auxiliary Bishop John Bonnici, Board Member, concelebrated. The mass was also attended by members of the Knights of Columbus, including Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly.
Cardinal Dolan called on the faithful to help persecuted Christians and, in doing so, to be inspired by Saint Veronica, who comforted Jesus on the way to Golgotha and Saint Simon of Cyrene, who carried his cross. The task ahead for Christians in the West, the cardinal said, is “prayer, plea and relief.”
This mission took on great urgency when Russia invaded Ukraine. ACNUSA, which has supported the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for more than 70 years, has gone into action with emergency aid programs. These have been sent to various dioceses of the Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic Church, where bishops, priests and sisters remain with those in their care, despite the danger. The organization has also launched a global prayer campaign.
The unspoken focus of the Mass on Ukraine was reflected in the presence of guests from ACNUSA, a mother and two young children who fled Ukraine, and Archbishop Borys Gudziak, the main prelate Ukrainian Greek Catholic in the United States. The Archbishop also concelebrated, alongside Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. Cardinal Dolan called on the faithful “not to forget the horror and the tears of our beloved Ukraine.” He added the Lenten message that all suffering has meaning only if that suffering is united with the Cross.
To mark the occasion, ACNUSA commissioned an icon of Our Lady of Refuge, protector of persecuted Christians.
To access ACNUSA stories and resources on Ukraine, please click here.