‘We Are All Part of the Human Family:’ Reflections on the One-Year Anniversary of the Ukraine War
Related: WGBH: A Year Since the War Started, Ukrainians in Massachusetts now wait to see how long they can stay
February 24 marks the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an event that dramatically escalated the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war, causing thousands of civilian casualties and leading millions of Ukrainians to flee their home in search of safety.
Committed to welcoming the stranger, and meeting all those in need with compassion, Catholic Charities Boston immediately sprang into action, launching Welcome Circles for Ukrainians, a pilot program developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB) Migration and Refugee Services, dedicated to helping Ukrainian families resettle in Massachusetts.
Marjean Perhot, Vice President of Refugee and Immigrant Services, shared with WGBH the process of sponsoring people escaping from the war. “There is a financial commitment that the [sponsor] needs to agree to, we need to make sure we’re not bringing folks here and they just get left on the street.”
Over the course of the past year, a total of nine Welcome Circles, comprised of parish volunteers, communities of faith, and other organizations, have come together, helping a total of 19 Ukrainian humanitarian parolees with everything from basic needs to finding employment to helping their children enroll in school.
These 19 are among a total of 106 Ukrainian humanitarian parolees who have received support from our Refugee and Immigrant Services Department, with 86 of these arriving in 2022 and 20 arriving in January 2023.
“What propels me to continue this work, despite many negative noises and challenges, is that each time I am blessed to encounter a refugee or immigrant, I know I am seeing the face of God, and that I could be them and they could be me,” said Marjean Perhot “We are all part of the human family.”
To learn more about how you can get involved in supporting our Ukrainian neighbors in need, or for ways to donate to RIS’ life-changing work, please email email@example.com.