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U.S. Ukrainian Bishop Returns from European Visit

By Emily Scott © Public News Service
The Tube City Almanac
April 20, 2022
Posted in: State & Region

The Most Rev. Bohdan Danylo, Ukrainian Catholic bishop of the Eparchy of St. Josaphat, visited the Polish-Ukrainian border earlier this month. (Photo courtesy Eparchy of St. Josaphat)

Ahead of the Easter holiday, a Ukrainian Catholic bishop based in the U.S. visited the country’s border.

The Most Rev. Bohdan Danylo of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Josaphat, which includes St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on Eden Park Boulevard and other western Pennsylvania parishes, was at the Poland-Ukraine border for a week.

He visited the Polish border city of Przemysl, his childhood home, which has become a major entry point for displaced Ukrainians.

Danylo said along with sharing donations and meeting with clergy and volunteers, he wanted to bring back to the U.S. the realities of what Ukrainians are facing.

“It’s a horrific image. Those people are searching for food, for water, for medicine and especially for shelter,” Danylo said. “Those who are already in Poland, they still have half of their family — let’s say husband, sons or fathers — in Ukraine, so those families are split. They are worrying about what is happening.”

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is a Byzantine Rite church in full communion with the worldwide Catholic Church, led by Pope Francis. The denomination has 4.1 million members, mostly in Ukraine.

Danylo, who got back April 1, was the first U.S. bishop to travel to the Ukrainian border following Russia’s invasion. Since February, more than 11 million Ukrainians have fled the country of more than 41 million people, according to United Nations estimates.

Danylo said there are many ways people in the U.S. can help those displaced by the conflict. The nonprofit Catholic Extension is providing aid to help shelter, feed and evacuate vulnerable families in the country. Danylo predicts the devastation Ukrainians are experiencing will have a long-term impact.

“For the last 20 years, young men and women in American armed forces, when they come back from the combat zone, they are scarred,” Danylo said. “They have their own issues. And here, you have a nation of 40 million basically living in a combat zone. So pray, tell the truth, and if you are able to help, help.”

Pennsylvania has the second-largest Ukrainian population in the country. Groups, including the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee, are seeking donations of medical supplies, hygiene products and more.

Emily Scott is a reporter and producer in Philadelphia for Public News Service, where this story first appeared. She previously worked at WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station and is a 2018 graduate of Temple University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.

Originally published April 20, 2022.

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