Ukraine refugees.

How to Help Ukraine Refugees and Internally Displaced Families

The war in Ukraine is evolving fast, millions of Ukraine’s families have left everything behind — their homes, their jobs, their communities — and many are sheltering in makeshift facilities where basic necessities like food and water are in short supply.  

According to the United Nations, more than half of Ukraine’s displaced families include children and the elderly. Many of Ukraine’s families depend on the kindness of strangers — compassionate people like you — for humanitarian aid.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What the Catholic Church is doing to respond to the needs of Ukraine’s refugees and internally displaced people — and how you can help.
  • Why Pope Francis has offered a special Apostolic Blessing to Cross Catholic Outreach and its supporters for their response in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.
  • How Cross Catholic Outreach supports international disaster relief and humanitarian aid to vulnerable children and families.

LEARN MORE: Help Children and Families Hurting in Ukraine and Eastern Europe

Catholic partners with relief supplies.
Our Catholic partners at a shelter in Ukraine.

Catholic Help in Ukraine and Eastern Europe

As an official Catholic charity with over two decades of disaster relief experience, Cross Catholic Outreach is dedicated to connecting faithful friends like you with religious and lay workers who are making a difference to bless the lives of the world’s poor and vulnerable.

We are working closely with Catholic bishops, dioceses and local parishes in Ukraine and Eastern Europe that have a strong understanding of the needs and challenges in the region, have a heart for serving those in desperate need, and have the ability to distribute aid through the Catholic Church network. Our partners are willing and able to serve people of all ages and from all religious backgrounds. Through these partnerships, we have successfully provided food, water, baby formula, ambulances, generators and other relief supplies to shelters and hospitals in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The generosity of faithful friends like you will allow us to continue this important outreach and extend an even greater impact.

LEARN MORE: Cross Catholic Outreach Endorsements

Give Now to Help Ukraine’s Children and Families

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Pope Francis and Cardinal Konrad Krajewski stand outside an ambulance.
Pope Francis and Cardinal Konrad Krajewski inspect an ambulance that has since been delivered to a hospital in Ukraine.

Meet Our Bold Catholic Partners in Ukraine and Eastern Europe

Cross Catholic Outreach is supporting a network of Catholic partners in Ukraine and neighboring nations, including Cardinal Konrad Krajewski of the Office of Papal Charities and those working at shelters in Ukraine, in Lutsk, Struga, and Nowa Uszyca.

As the Papal Almoner, Cardinal Krajewski has personally delivered fully equipped ambulances to hospitals in war-torn Ukraine in the name of the Holy Father and through the assistance of Cross Catholic Outreach supporters like you. The first ambulance reached a children’s hospital in Lviv, Ukraine, in late March, and the cardinal returned during Holy Week in mid-April to deliver a second ambulance to a hospital in Kyiv.

Cardinal Krajewski with a Cross Catholic Outreach priest.
Cross Catholic Outreach’s Monsignor Ted Bertagni (right) presents Cardinal Krajewski with a check in April 2022 to help the Office of Papal Charities serve Ukraine’s refugees and internally displaced people.

Vatican Cardinal Shares His Gratitude for Cross Catholic Outreach Supporters

In late April, Cross Catholic Outreach’s Monsignor Ted Bertagni met with Cardinal Krajewski at the Office of Papal Charities at the Vatican. During this meeting, the Papal Almoner offered the following words of encouragement to Cross Catholic Outreach supporters:

“To your organization, Cross Catholic [Outreach], I thank you so much. And in the name of the Holy Father, I give a blessing to you and your families, to all who follow the logic of the Gospel: to share their gifts with those most in need. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. I wish you many good things.”

Cardinal shakes hands with Pope Francis.
Cardinal Krajewski greets Pope Francis at the Vatican prior to delivering an ambulance to a children’s hospital in Lviv, Ukraine.

Pope Francis Imparts Papal Blessing for Humanitarian Response

Shortly after delivering the first ambulance to Ukraine on behalf of Pope Francis, Cardinal Krajewski contacted Cross Catholic Outreach to share the Holy Father’s gratitude.

In a letter, Cardinal Krajewski wrote: “I carry with this venerable gift the thanks of Pope Francis himself for this concrete support of his pastoral initiative and [the Holy Father] imparts to your ministry a special Apostolic Blessing for grace and divine consolation that from his heart he imparts to you and all the staff of Cross Catholic Outreach.”

An Apostolic Blessing — commonly called a papal blessing — is a special blessing from the Holy Father himself that marks a significant occasion or milestone. For example, individuals can request an Apostolic Blessing through the Papal Charities office in Vatican City to recognize the sacrament of marriage, a priestly ordination or a religious profession milestone. Another example of an Apostolic Blessing is the pope’s Urbi et Orbi blessing given on Christmas and Easter.

RELATED: The Pope Gives His Blessing to Cross Catholic Outreach

Three Catholic priests at the Vatican.
Cross Catholic Outreach’s Msgr. Bertagni (center) meets with Ukrainian priests and fellow Missionaries of Mercy at the Vatican in April 2022.

Cross Catholic Outreach Reacts to the Pope’s Blessing

Jim Cavnar, president of Cross Catholic Outreach, said he was humbled to receive Pope Francis’ recognition for the ministry’s works of mercy in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

“Seven years ago, we were honored to receive formal canonical recognition by Pope Francis. In 2021, the Holy Father imparted his Apostolic Blessing honoring our 20th anniversary. Today, we want to express our gratitude to the Holy Father for recognizing our commitment to stand with the Church to embrace Ukraine’s families in the midst of great suffering,” said Cavnar.

Sharing a similar message was Msgr. Bertagni, Cross Catholic Outreach’s director of clergy and diocesan relations, who is also one of the ministry’s outreach priests and was commissioned by Pope Francis as a Missionary of Mercy.

“The outreaches we pursue transform the lives of those who look to the Lord for hope and peace,” said Msgr. Bertagni. “The Holy Father’s Apostolic Blessing affirms the Gospel works of mercy we perform. It is truly a blessing to receive this special recognition from Pope Francis.”

RELATED: Cross Catholic Outreach’s Vatican Endorsements

Cross Catholic Outreach partner with supplies at a refugee camp.
Our Catholic partner Caritas in Veritate with relief supplies at a Ukraine shelter.

Cross Catholic Outreach’s History of Service During Times of Crisis

Cross Catholic Outreach is an official Catholic ministry that partners with bishops, priests, and religious and lay workers, mobilizing the global Catholic Church to transform the poor and their communities materially and spiritually for the glory of Jesus Christ.

In 2001, Cross Catholic Outreach launched its ministry to provide material and spiritual blessings to the poor and marginalized around the world. In the 21 years since, thousands of lives and communities have been transformed in more than 85 countries. Current programs include:

Cross Catholic Outreach has a long history of standing with the Church to defend the world’s most vulnerable people during times of turmoil. Disaster relief responses have included building safe homes following devastating earthquakes in Haiti in 2010 and 2021, hurricane relief in places such as Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, and providing emergency food and medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

LEARN MORE: Our Catholic Identity

A group photo of a cardinal, Catholic sisters and lay people.
Cardinal Krajewski (front row, fifth from the right) visits the Missionaries of Charity in Ukraine.

You Can Make a Difference for Ukraine’s Children and Families

Cross Catholic Outreach extends its deepest gratitude to everyone who has linked arms to lift up Ukraine’s hurting children and families — including our ministry partners in the field, our dedicated staff of religious and lay workers, and our faithful benefactors who stand with the Church in Ukraine. We ask for your continued prayers for God’s intervention in Ukraine.

By supporting Cross Catholic Outreach’s mission of mercy today, you can help rush critical aid, including food, water, baby formula, sanitary kits, ambulances and other relief, to those who need help most. Your generosity will empower our network of Catholic partners in Ukraine and neighboring nations that selflessly serve vulnerable children and families. You can relieve the fears of Ukraine’s families and show them God’s love in this time of crisis.

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Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2023, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.