Read Archbishop Leo's pastoral letter on Ukraine

Archbishop Cushley has written a pastoral letter to Catholics in our Archdiocese updating them on the Ukraine crisis and reminding us to support SCIAF's annual WEE BOX campaign.

Pastoral Letter

Edinburgh, 27 March 2022

My dear friends,

I know that all of you will have been as shocked and saddened as I was by the invasion of Ukraine last month. I know also that you will be keeping in your prayers not only all those who have already lost their lives, but also those who have lost loved ones and those who have been driven from their homes.

One of the consequences of this unjustified invasion is that millions of Ukrainians are now on the move across Europe and we, therefore, face an unprecedented refugee crisis. As Ukrainian families begin to arrive in Scotland, I want you to know that I have urged the Scottish Government to use its resources to house and financially support these refugees, and that the Archdiocese is working with local government agencies to help in any way that we can.

I know you will warmly welcome and support the Ukrainian families that come to live in our communities.But there are also several other ways in which you can help.

Fr Vasyl Kren, the priest attached to our Ukrainian parish in Edinburgh, says that he is extremely grateful for everyone’s generosity but that, for now, there is no more space there to take gifts of clothes, bedding and food. The most effective way, then, to help our Ukrainian friends right now is to contribute to SCIAF’s appeal for the Ukraine.

This is because SCIAF forms part of Caritas Internationalis, the great international charity of the Catholic Church. Caritas is present in the Ukraine, in Poland, and in other countries affected, and by responding to SCIAF’s Ukraine appeal, you can help our Ukrainian brothers and sisters in all the countries where they find themselves stranded in great numbers, chiefly in Poland and the other Western European countries bordering on the Ukraine.

SCIAF’s main work, helping the poor of Africa, the Americas and Asia, will continue through the Lenten Wee Box campaign and through the collection at the end of today's mass. But SCIAF is also collecting specifically on behalf of the Ukraine.

I urge you, therefore, to support the people of the Ukraine, without forgetting our friends who still rely upon us elsewhere.

May the Lord bless you abundantly for your goodness and generosity.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

+Leo Cushley

Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh

The WEE BOX: coming to your home soon

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) has announced that supporters of the much-loved WEE BOX, BIG CHANGE Appeal, will soon be able to get their hands on the WEE BOX.

Despite the lockdown supporters of the charity can get their WEE BOX online now at www.sciaf.org.uk/weebox

For more than two decades, the initiative has been a fixture in many households throughout Scotland. Every year, generous Scots give up a treat for Lent and place the money they would save into the WEE BOX.

Money raised from this appeal helps to provide the crucial schooling, healthcare, food, sanitation, and support to earn a living that families need to work themselves out of poverty.

The Scottish aid charity has developed comprehensive online resources, jam packed with exciting activities for all ages to ensure people are able to continue to support the appeal.

Penelope Blackwell, Director of Public Engagement said: “The money raised from Lent appeals provides a lifeline to thousands of families who are less fortunate and gives them the hope and support they need to build better futures. We cannot do any of this without the help of our supporters and I would like to thank each and every one you.”

To order a WEE BOX go to: www.sciaf.org.uk/weebox or call 0141 354 5555.

Scottish Catholics raise over 2.6m for SCIAF’s WEE BOX Appeal

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) has raised over £2.6m for its Lent 2020 WEE BOX, BIG CHANGE appeal.

The annual appeal raises vital funds for the charity’s life-changing work helping people in some of the poorest countries in the world who struggle to survive due to hunger, poverty, conflict and natural disasters.

The money raised from the appeal will help women affected by widespread violence in the troubled eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo where its incredible mineral wealth has helped to fuel decades of sexual violence, leaving thousands of women and girls injured and traumatised and in urgent need of help.

Each year thousands of people across Scotland raise money for the appeal by giving up a favourite treat, like coffee or chocolate, for the 40 days of Lent, and putting what they’ve saved in their WEE BOX.  Many people including in schools and parishes also hold their own fundraising events. The money raised so far includes £1.2m of match funding from the UK government,

SCIAF’s Director Alistair Dutton said: “We are extremely grateful for people’s generosity throughout Scotland, year after year, and especially that of schools and parishes during this difficult period.”

Money given to SCIAF’s WEE BOX appeal will help the charity’s life changing work around the world, while the match funding from the UK government will provide a lifeline to 4,000 extremely vulnerable women and girls affected by sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This will be through the provision of medical care, trauma counselling, free legal support to prosecute their attackers and help so they and their families can become financially independent.

Mr Dutton added: “As the coronavirus crisis continues to maintain its hold, we are seeing increasingly vulnerable communities pushed deeper into poverty, undoing decades of progress. The funds will also help to provide urgent food, water and medical assistance and put in place measures to help minimise the spread of the virus and its impact on people’s livelihoods.

“We could not do this without the incredible generosity of the Scottish public.”

To find out more or make a donation go to www.sciaf.org.uk/weebox, or call 0141 354 5555.