The War in Ukraine and the Refugee Crisis

“Ever more horrendous cruelties [are occurring], even against civilians, women, and helpless children.

They are victims whose innocent blood cries out to heaven and implores.

May this war cease! May weapons fall silent. Stop sowing death and destruction.”

POPE FRANCIS, 6th April 2022 commenting on the Bucha massacre

Homes for Ukraine info session

With the war in the Ukraine entering its second year, there is still a need for sponsors to generously open the homes to those hoping to find a place of safety in the UK. St John of God and Catholic Social Action Network (CSAN) are part of the Community Sponsorship movement in the UK who are offering a matching, training and support service to both sponsors and guests under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. For people interested in becoming a sponsor, they are running an online session on 22nd March at 6pm, hosted by Caritas Diocese of Plymouth.

Please visit their website for more details and to sign up.

Caritas Portsmouth logo with the red caritas symbol of a red cross with sun like rays coming out from centre, with Caritas written in black next to it. Undernrath is a red line with Portsmouth Diocese written inside and below that is half of the cross / sun logo shape in grey

An Easter message from Caritas Internationalis

This Easter, we would like to share with you a message from our Secretary General, Aloysius John. 

Thanks to your solidarity, we were able to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to affected people in Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries, especially women and children. Your contribution also helped Caritas to support other communities around the world, leaving no one behind.

In these days leading to the Resurrection of our Lord, our thoughts and prayers are for all the Caritas workers and volunteers who are helping people tirelessly, even at the risk of their lives. Particularly, we will remember in our prayers the two female Caritas staff killed in Mariupol along with their relatives. This dramatic news horrified and shocked the Caritas family. We join in grief and solidarity with the suffering of the families and our colleagues of Caritas Ukraine who are living a tragedy. Despite this, they continue to support the local population.

Image from Caritas Specs

Since the beginning of the conflict, Caritas has assisted around 700,000 persons in Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are also welcomed and assisted by Caritas organisations in the neighboring countries. In Poland, Caritas set up 2500 places for refugees, families and children. At the moment, there are 8444 refugees (2351 families, 4766 children) staying in different Caritas centers.

Your generosity and solidarity are an island of hope, for people who are living tremendous and unspeakable sufferings.

Please continue to support them. Continue to be their hope.

Caritas Poland

Statement from CAFOD & Caritas 

Like you, CAFOD is deeply disturbed by the ongoing attacks on Ukraine.

Together, we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and send our prayers to our sister organisation Caritas Ukraine, and those Caritas agencies in neighbouring countries, who are already helping people affected by this conflict.

We are part of one of the largest aid networks in the world – Caritas Internationalis, and because of our global reach and local presence, we are there when an emergency hits.

As one Caritas, we stand united with them.

Click this photo to go to Caritas Portsmouth resources for Homes for Ukraine and other volunteer work
Support for Ukraine in St Peter's Square from Vatican Media


Caritas Portsmouth have collected resources from a number of organisations who are offering their expertise and advice. You can access this information by clicking on the image above

Please read this information carefully and use their work to help you decide what role you would like to play in helping. 

Not everyone will be able to open their home to a Ukrainian family; being part of a welcoming parish hall volunteer group, fund raising and offering prayer may be your valued contribution.  Everything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

Caritas Portsmouth are also happy to come and give talks on Ukraine, about how aid works in Ukraine and in neighbouring reception countries …and how we can best help in the UK. 

Contact [email protected] if you would like to know more. And click on the link below to see a report and images of a recent talk.

Ukraine and Caritas

devastation in Bucha from the Vatican web site

Your generous donations to CAFOD and the DEC’s Appeals are already reaching those in need. Jo Kitterick, CAFOD’s Director of Fundraising and Community Participation, said: 

“This amazing show of support for people fleeing the conflict has meant that we have been able to start spending money straight away to help more people.”

“Through our international partner Caritas, we are working inside Ukraine and on its borders, setting up safe centres with beds, food and washing facilities. We’re also providing transport, information, psychological support and child-friendly spaces.”


How has the Catholic Church responded?

Pope Francis has called for political leaders to make “a great examination of conscience before God, who is the God of peace and not of war”.

In his Angelus address on 6 March Pope Francis said: “I make a heartfelt appeal for humanitarian corridors to be genuinely secured, and for aid to be guaranteed and access facilitated to the besieged areas, in order to offer vital relief to our brothers and sisters oppressed by bombs and fear”.  

The Rt Rev John Arnold, Catholic Bishop of Salford, and Chair of Trustees at CAFOD, along with more than 1000 faith leaders from across the UK, have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging him to reconsider the Nationality and Borders Bill.

Bishop John and other faith leaders believe that the bill closes the door to refugees. “While there is still conflict and injustice in the world, there will always be desperate people needing to seek sanctuary from war, persecution, and suffering.”

Prayerful Actions

Pope Francis has asked all Catholics to pray for resolution to the Ukrainian war. 

Bishops Conference England & Wales has produced the information sheet below.


Prayer for Peace

Homes for Ukraine

The UK government has launched Homes for Ukraine. See the government announcement on the link below.

This announcement outlines how individuals in the UK can offer accommodation to named Ukrainian refugees.

There will be much to do to welcome our guests, as refugees arrive in the UK, and we will need your help. 

World Health Organisation (WHO) have produced a document about Psychological First Aid. Anyone who is considering helping  within the Homes for Ukraine scheme, either by offering to be a host or a supporter, is strongly recommended to read this guidance.

Find it on the button below.


Cash Donations

In the meantime we encourage you to give cash donations. Click on the link on the left and donate through CAFOD, a member of the DEC.

We do understand that many people feel the need to do something active in the face of such suffering. Consider arranging a fund raising event with all funds raised to go to the relief organisations. Please think very carefully before arranging for donations-in-kind to be requested, or to make informal arrangements to take them into Eastern Europe. 

Caritas have issued a joint statement with CAFOD which you can read on the link below:

How the diocese is responding and how you can help.

Please check this web site regularly for updates on how the diocese is responding as the details of the Homes for Ukraine scheme become clearer. Updates will be posted here as needed, probably several times a week, giving you information about how you can help and what parishes and schools are doing throughout the diocese. 

Parish response

Our parishes are working with other groups in their local areas to co-ordinate the neighborhood response and support for Ukrainian guests as they arrive.

Read more about Tadley and Ringwood parish work on the button below.


Read more about Caritas Portsmouth and our diocesan work on the link below:


And please pray for all those affected.