By Skelia Tv- 22 September 2023
Your Excellency Visvaldas, today we are living a special day as this house for the poor is being consecrated. What does this event mean for you? What does it mean for the Church?
Here in Lviv, the consecration of the Ecumenical Mercy Center of the Albertine Sisters holds various meanings today. For me, it is also an encounter with the Special Envoy of Pope Francis, who is in Ukraine for the seventh time. It is almost like feeling the physical presence of the Pope here in Lviv, just days after the bombing of the Caritas-Spes logistics center in Lviv.
Furthermore, this is a moment when we are not only celebrating an act of mercy but Christian mercy, for this is the mercy of God. We are not only consecrating; we are praying so that our actions are also always a prayer, so that the Lord Himself may save us. For it is not just about one act of mercy but about acts that bring us peace, that bestow peace upon us. To build peace, to defend Ukraine from the aggressor, it is not enough to rely on arms. Our main weapon for building peace is the Lord. As we say during Holy Mass: “Lord, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” And Ukraine will be saved, and peace will be defended. The whole country, the entire territory, and all the people. For it is acts of mercy and prayer, strong prayer that unites us all, not only the Christians in Ukraine but all believers and non-believers, all those who believe in humanity, in goodness, in the Creator. Therefore, I am grateful for this opportunity to be here in Lviv and consecrate this Center together.
Excellency Visvaldas, there are many negative comments regarding the destruction of the Caritas warehouse, this aid. There are also many negative responses; we see people saying that humanitarian aid has been burned and stolen again. How did you personally experience this news? What did you perceive when you heard this news?
Since the morning, I had read this news, which had been published by Mayor Sadovyi of Lviv, so everything was clear. Then, I received additional details, and during lunch, I was able to send the information to the Secretariat of State. It’s horrible, a terrible thing, but it is not the first time it has happened. For instance, in Kherson, both Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic priests told me that when they bring humanitarian aid, they don’t know if it would be bombed or not. This was a huge warehouse; hence you cannot immediately send trucks to Kherson, Kharkiv, or Zaporizhzhia, as the drivers working with Caritas-Spes are all volunteers. They work during the week, then when they find sometime on Saturday or Sunday, they pick up humanitarian aid and deliver it. The coordinators explained to me that it is not always possible to transfer all the humanitarian aid in a day or a week. Here, there were 300 tons of humanitarian aid. That’s a large quantity. But if you count how much humanitarian aid Ukraine has received in total, it is a very large quantity. Only through Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Apostolic Almoner, who collaborates with the Greek Catholic parish of Santa Sofia in Rome, brought 120 large trucks of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. But when I talk to Caritas-Spes, the number exceeds 1,000 trucks, and then there is Caritas Ukraine, so I do not even know how many. There are many more. These are large numbers. So, when we talk about 300 tons burned, bombed, it is a large quantity, but it is also a sign of how much humanitarians aid arrives every day, every week. It is food, generators, clothes, windows, and various other things. So, we are grateful to all our benefactors who help us all.