The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church traditionally holds an event during Lent. Fr. Andriy Nahirnyak, Vice-President of Caritas Ukraine and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s overseer of Social Services mentioned this in an interview he recently gave.
Branches of Caritas Ukraine annually hold the Easter Basket event. Donations of money or groceries are accepted. Volunteers distribute stocked Easter Baskets to less fortunate members of society who otherwise might not be able to put together a traditional basket. A similar event serves inmates, explains Fr. Andriy. This program also accepts donations which they distribute among prisoners.
Lent is not only about restricting physical desires and needs, which shows that we have control over them. Lent also requires prayer and kindness.
Prayers are more numerous and significantly longer. Also we are called on to act with more kindness.
In the interview Fr. Andriy emphasized that Caritas’ events are annual, not one-time events. “We hold events annually or semi-annually. Usually, a priest visits the detention centres once or twice a year, alone or with a volunteer. During these visits the priest conducts several types of events: concerts, spiritual discussions, divine liturgies, sporting events, and when necessary helps prisoners out financially,” notes Fr. Andriy.
Additionally, Fr. Andriy notes that Caritas Sambir-Drohobych Eparchy holds an annual Easter Raffle. By purchasing a ticket, individuals contribute to charity and have the opportunity to win a prize. The money raised is used to fund activities at the Centre for Recreation for those with Special Needs.
“There are countless ways to act kindly so every person can do that which feels right for them. The important thing is for each person to recognize what their neighbour needs. None of us is so poor that we can’t say a kind work, show compassion, or simply smile.
Our faith requires action. If we believe in Christ, then we should recognize Him in every human being; this should encourage us to act with kindness. For a religious person this is a special blessing. By helping someone else they have the opportunity to meet Christ. We are always looking for Him, and here He clearly says: you will see me if you act kindly towards others,” said Fr. Andriy.