With Mariupol, Ukraine, just starting to become accessible, news emerged yesterday of a devastating tank attack on the Caritas centre there, on March 15, 2022. Seven people, including two staff members, are known to have lost their lives and the building has sustained significant damage.
Strongly condemning this latest atrocity, Carl Hétu, executive director of Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada, said, “We are united in sorrow with the entire Caritas family. Our grief and outrage only strengthen our conviction in peace and redouble our solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”
Development and Peace joins Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis, in his appeal to the international community to “bring this violence to an end,” expressed in the following interview with Alessandro Gisotti of Vatican News:
“This dramatic news leaves the Caritas family horrified and shocked. We join in grief and solidarity with the suffering of the families and our colleagues of Caritas Ukraine who are living a tragedy”. With these words, the Secretary-General of Caritas Internationalis, Aloysius John, expresses his condolences for the death of two female employees of Caritas Ukraine in Mariupol. According to local Caritas sources, on March 15 a Russian tank fired shots at the Caritas center in Mariupol, killing the two employees and five of their family members who had taken refuge in the building. The tragic news only emerged yesterday. “We need your solidarity and prayers for the families of the victims”, said the president of Caritas Ukraine, Tetiana Stawnychy. In an interview with Vatican Media Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis, emphasizes the value of the testimony of those who, at the risk of their own lives, are helping the Ukrainian people devastated by the war and makes a heartfelt appeal for an end to this conflict.
The Caritas Center in Mariupol has been attacked. At least seven people died, including two women staff members. What are your feelings on this tragic news?
I feel deep sadness and shock at the news of the attack that led to the loss of lives. Caritas Internationalis expresses its profound sympathies and closeness to the families of those who lost their lives and were wounded. Our sadness turns into an appeal to the international community to exert every effort to bring this violence to an end, to return to dialogue, and to see a brother and sister in every person.
What would you say to all the women and men that every day – even risking their lives – are doing their best to help the people of Ukraine?
To the women and men risking their lives, we extend a word of sincere gratitude. You are doing a holy action, holy work. For every good action done selflessly, you are sowing seeds of truth, justice, love and peace that will change the world. God will make sure that your efforts will not be in vain. They will bear fruit.
What can we do to honor the sacrifice of these humanitarian workers of Caritas and all the victims of this terrible war?
We honor the sacrifice of humanitarian workers by praying for them and their families. We believe that God hears the cry of the poor and the just. We honor them by affirming the value of the service rendered by humanitarian organizations that must be respected. We honor them by praying to God and appealing to people of goodwill to think of and work for peace.