A Mass to honor the persecuted and suffering church around the world

“WHEN ONE MEMBER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST SUFFERS, WE ALL SUFFER,” proclaimed Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York in his homily at a Mass dedicated to the persecuted Church around the world. In so many places, he continued, there is “diabolical vitriol against religion.”

The Mass at New York’s St. Patrick Cathedral was an initiative of Aid to the Church in Need-USA (ACNUSA), which was represented by staff as well as Chairman of the Board George Marlin and board member Brad Miner. Concelebrating was board member Auxiliary Bishop John Bonnici. 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 model themselves on St. Veronica, who comforted Jesus on the way to Golgotha and St. Simon of Cyrene, who carried his cross. The task at hand for Christians in the West, said the Cardinal, is “prayer, advocacy, and relief.”

That mission took on great urgency when Russia invaded Ukraine. ACNUSA—which has supported the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for more than 70 years—has sprung into action with emergency aid packages. These were sent to various dioceses of both the Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic Church, where bishops, priests and sisters are remaining at the side of the people in their care, despite the danger. The organization has also launched a global prayer campaign.

ACNUSA Director of Outreach Edward with the Our Lady of Refuge icon.

The unspoken focus of the Mass on Ukraine was reflected in the presence of guests of ACNUSA, a mother and two young children who fled Ukraine, and Archbishop Borys Gudziak, the leading Ukrainian Greek Catholic prelate in the US. The archbishop also concelebrated, alongside Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. Cardinal Dolan called on faithful to “not forget the horror and tears of our beloved Ukraine.” He added the Lenten message that all suffering takes on meaning only if that suffering is united to the Cross.

To mark the occasion, ACNUSA commissioned an icon of Our Lady of Refuge, protectress of persecuted Christians.

To access ACNUSA stories and resources on Ukraine, please click here.