Supporting those in need worldwide

Archbishop Leo Cushley has called on people across the Archdiocese to support charities this weekend.

He has asked all parishes to share a letter from Bishop Brian McGee (below) and support the special collection this weekend for papal and episcopal charities, including SCIAF.

He said: "The money you donate is used to support much needed projects for people in need across the world.

"We pray for all those involved in charities of the Church, which help those in need across the world. Thank you for your generosity in almsgiving during Lent.”

To donate online to SCIAF, please visit the SCIAF website. Find out more about its work here.


My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

I write on this the fourth Sunday of Lent on behalf of the Bishops of Scotland to give thanks for your generosity and prayerful support of SCIAF – the official relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in Scotland – at what is an uncertain and difficult time for many of us.

Despite this, you continue to show compassion for those in need, particularly our sisters and brothers affected by the recent Earthquake in Syria- Türkiye, and those who are suffering because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Furthermore, during my recent visit to Ethiopia, I saw first-hand how countless lives have been transformed through your generosity.

With your loving support, SCIAF – the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund – continues to work in parts of the world where people are so dreadfully in need, to support people to build brighter futures.

In the Gospels, we hear of many occasions when Jesus heals the sick, reaching out with love and mercy to the most marginalised and the poorest people, both in action and in spirit. As Catholics we are called to follow his example to recognise that we are our sisters or brother’s keeper. To reach out to the poorest people with love.

SCIAF is the embodiment of the love of our Church in Scotland, reaching out to our most vulnerable sisters and brothers around the world. It is why, during Lent, we ask you to give generously to SCIAF’s WEE BOX appeal to support the vital work SCIAF does on our behalf.

Around the world, 811 million people are facing hunger – and 60% of those living with chronic hunger are women and children. Every day, families wake up hungry, not knowing what they will be forced to do to survive, or how long their children will live.

This year's appeal

This year’s Lenten appeal focusses on the lives of Ruth (see above video), Juliet, Catherine, Savita and their families in Zambia.

We hear of how they are living and farming in the harshest of conditions; of the hardships they face when crops fail, and they are left without food.

Ruth was so hungry that she was too tired to work in the fields. Her crops failed and there was no food for her family.

She could not afford to send her children to school; they cried for food that she did not have. She feared that the children would become scavengers or turn to prostitution.

Juliet, Ruth’s 17-year-old daughter, dreams of being a nurse. Unable to concentrate at school because of hunger, she worried that she would have to leave school, like so many of her friends, and marry as a teenager to ensure her survival.

Hunger forced Catherine to search for mushrooms to feed her grandchildren. She mistakenly poisoned herself and her four grandchildren.
Savita boils roots and weeds to feed her young grandson – it is his only meal of the day.

The failed harvests have left nothing for Savita to sell at market, and she cannot afford a school uniform or to send her grandson to school.

However, while hunger is the start of these stories, it does not have to be their end. Together, we can reach out in love and act against hunger.

Your donations make a real difference for so many of the people served by SCIAF and, so, for Ruth, Juliet and Catherine there is now hope.

With the love and compassion of Catholic people across Scotland, we have witnessed change for these women and their families that will last a lifetime.

Yet for Savita, and many others, the future is uncertain. I ask you to give generously to support projects like this one in Zambia so that there can be hope, and an end to hunger and poverty.

Your donations

Your donations will give families the ability to grow their own food by providing the training and tools they need. By ensuring they have the business skills they need to earn an income.

And by providing access to women’s groups and literacy classes so they can work themselves out of poverty.

When we act together – by giving to today’s special Lenten collection and filling up our WEE BOXES – we can reach out in love and act against hunger, supporting women like Savita and their families.

As Lent continues and we look forward to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, I ask you to remember SCIAF and everyone they work with in your prayers.

We thank you for the continued generosity of your donations; know that it goes towards good work and that a just and green world is possible.

May God bless you and your families during the Holy season of Lent and throughout the year,

Bishop Brian McGee
Diocese of Argyll & the Isles
Bishop President of SCIAF
On behalf of the Bishop’s Conference of Scotland

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

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: 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, or call 0141 354 5555.