Local Catholics have opened their hearts and their wallets to help those suffering in Ukraine, according to Tony DeGol, spokesman for the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
The diocese missions office is sending $116,069.76 to Catholic Relief Services to assist with humanitarian relief efforts in that troubled part of the world, he said in a news release.
The total reflects multiple gifts made through collections at individual parishes and at the diocesan Mass celebrated by Bishop Mark L. Bartchak on March 25 at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. Many individuals also sent money directly to the missions office to support the cause, the news release states.
Our Lady of Victory Parish in State College collected $20,526 — the largest total among any local Catholic faith community. Good Shepherd Parish in Port Matilda raised $14,417; Parishioners at Saint Benedict in Johnstown donated $9,232; Saint Matthew Parish in Tyrone and Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Bellefonte netted $7,384.35 and $7,098.24, respectively.
Catholic Relief Services, which carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas, will use the money collected in Altoona-Johnstown to support its Ukrainian relief efforts, that include food distribution, transportation services, shelter and counseling services for displaced families, and evacuation of children from conflict areas to safe zones.
As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues, Bartchak encourages the faithful to continue praying for an end to the violence and for all those affected by the turmoil.